A Student Reflection Statement:
"I am really satisfied with the service-learning project titled Promoting Literacy Among Hispanic Migrant Population that I have chosen to do. So everything is underway and starting to come together. I think the project will really benefit my school and community! I am so excited about it and I feel I am doing something worth while with my time spent on it."
-- Katie Allred, Master Teacher Program Candidate
Leyendo Juntos/Reading Together
" Leyendo Juntos/Reading Together” is community engagement program that brings together Hispanic/Latino college students and Hispanic/Latino families that promotes bilingual family literacy. Research shows that involving Latino families in their child's education helps raise school attendance, reduce dropout rates, and boost academic achievement. Latino parents and families acquired communication skills to more effectively work as partners in their children’s education; families learned concrete strategies to assist their children at home building on the strengths of family and community and thereby participating as partners in the K-college pipeline.
Latino families value their children’s education but may lack the knowledge of the educational system. At the university, bilingual teacher candidates and Spanish majors were recruited for training in family literacy strategies. This approach was purposeful in serving Hispanic students and contributes to Hispanic/Latino academic success at our predominantly White institution. University students participated in civic learning and a more democratic engagement. Further, they engaged in curriculum development and knowledge production, many for the first time.
Over 150 families have participated in Yakima and we are looking forward to engaging our Latino families in Ellensburg during 2015.
-- Dr. Susan Flores, Assistant Professor
HED 450: Community Building Strategies for Health
Instructor: Dr. Tishra Beeson, Department of Physical Education, School & Public Health
The purpose of this course is to provide students with both pedagogical and practice-based exposure to various strategies to achieving community health and social change, including coalition building, community organizing, advocacy, policy development, and other partnership efforts. All students are paired with a partnering organization in the Ellensburg community with which they work on a community-based project over the quarter. Examples of community projects have included:
- CWU Campus-Community Garden Mural Project and Canvassing Effort
- For the Love of our Land, For the Good of Our Community: a communication strategy for environmental preservation
- Preventing Alcohol in the Home: a partnership with the Drug Action Team and Kittitas Community Coalition and Network
- Sexual Health Awareness Campaign
Quotes from Student Reflections
“As a future public health professional, I am definitely grateful to have had this experience with such an established organization. I think this has also helped me go from just planning implementations, to actually doing them and completing them. Additionally, this experience has shown me my own interests in policy changes, and how to actually go about addressing them. I feel like I also developed the skills and knowledge needed to take an organization and adapt it to a specific demographic … and also about what it takes to build the start of a community organization movement.”
- Ellie Wylie, Public Health Senior
“The community organization and coalition development course has been a great asset to developing the skills needed as a future health professional; not just by the course curriculum, but the field experience our class was able to gain by working directly within the Kittitas Community. We appreciated the opportunity to gain experience working directly within the Ellensburg community and to learn about the true aspects of what builds community partnerships.”
- Haley Furstenwerth, Public Health Senior
“One of best ways to learn about what an organization is and does, is to get hands on experience, and work with one. Luckily in this class we were given that opportunity and were able to partner with an existing organization in the community and work with them, while learning from them. From this class I was able to learn that community organizing is necessary when you are able to see injustice, when community’s or populations are vulnerable, and when the job is bigger than the individual can achieve on their own. I’ve also learned that to be a community organizer, you need to have a certain set of skills. Skills of which include, the ability to sense injustice, a sense of humor, being a good listener, fearlessness, and much more. Over the course of the class, I feel as if I have learned more about community organizing than I anticipated I would."
-Makenna Robinson, Public Health Senior
“Community Organizing and Coalition Development has been one of the most hands-on, community focused classes in the Public Health Program. I feel that we had a very solid mix of lecture (to learn what we are doing) and out of class work (to actually go do it!) I have also appreciated how self-driven this project has been. This class has been like a senior capstone, putting so many things we have learned over the years into practice. And this “practice” has not just been with our classmates or professors, but with real community members who are depending on us as professionals. This experience has really modeled what holding a professional position will look like, and has helped me feel more confident.
- Jazmyne Sturgeon, Public Health Senior