Community Service at The Ohio State University: Honor Roll 2010 with Distinction
This page recognizes outstanding service-learning and community service by Ohio State students, faculty, and staff. The following stories were gathered as part of Ohio State’s application for the 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Ohio Appalachia Community Cancer Network (ACCN)
The Ohio Appalachia Community Cancer Network (ACCN) consists of a network of community-academic partners united by one common goal: to conquer the high cancer rates faced by residents in the 32-county area of Appalachian Ohio. ACCN is one of 25 Community Networks Programs funded by the National Cancer Institute’s Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities. The Ohio State University (OSU) coordinates the Appalachia Ohio program with community partners, including members of five community-based cancer coalitions, which help design, implement and evaluate community-based projects. Ohio ACCN demonstrates OSU’s mission of teaching, research and service by engaging community members in education and research opportunities and by offering experiential learning opportunities for students, post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty members. This collaboration among researchers, students, staff and community partners has enabled students to enrich their learning with practical experiences in public health among an underserved population and enabled community members to participate in health screenings, educational sessions, research projects and conferences. Funded initiatives since ACCN’s inception in 2005 have focused on reducing barriers to breast cancer screening; using strong church communities to increase awareness about cancer risk and the benefits of exercise and a good diet; public advocacy and awareness of colon cancer screening; and worksite wellness. Assessments of ACCN projects show increased awareness, participation and preventative action. OSU faculty has successfully competed for over $19 million in research funds, and OSU’s Center for Population Health and Health Disparities recently secured refunding from the National Institutes of Health – one of only five cancer-focused centers funded in the country. This synergy has produced new, creative ways to solve community health problems by weaving the unique cultural characteristics of Appalachia into scholarship.
OSU Student Farm and MHS Farmer’s Market (A Partnership of Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and Metro High School)
OSU Student Farm brings together students, faculty and staff of The Ohio State University (OSU) and Metro Early College High School to learn about sustainable agriculture. Metro High School (MHS) is designed to advance science, technology, math and engineering (STEM) education. It was founded through a collaboration of OSU, Battelle Memorial Institute (the world’s largest independent research and development organization) and Franklin County Educational Council. With support from PAST Foundation’s Growing America Program, high school students, undergraduates, graduate students and others work at the farm on testing growing styles, mulching and weed management, marketing, and fruit and vegetable varieties. Students are involved year-round and gain experience in planning, maintenance, management, harvesting and marketing. OSU students mentor MHS students, who sell the produce at MHS Farmer’s Market during the summer. MHS students contact vendors, coordinate contracts and run the market, providing a sense of entrepreneurship and ownership. The Student Farm has been successful in achieving its education goals for students, and it has provided the surrounding community with a needed outlet to buy fresh, local, sustainable produce. An average of 350-400 consumers visited each market. Student farmers also provided community tours of the farm and donated extra produce to Mid-Ohio Food Bank. This successful program received grant support from OSU’s Offices of Outreach & Engagement.
Schoenbaum Family Center
Schoenbaum Family Center provides evidence-based early childhood education and care for life and school success, working with a etwork of organizations to support families and the local community in nurturing healthy children. The center, which opened in 2007, offers a rich program of comprehensive, full-day, year-round child care and education. It is a result of a collaborative partnership of The Ohio State University, Columbus City Schools and the Child Development Council of Franklin County Head Start/Early Head Start. The center serves a culturally and economically-diverse community of children ages six weeks to five years and their families. Ohio State’s colleges of Dentistry, Optometry and Nursing provided free health screenings during the school year; many of the screenings were also provided for elementary school children and to the greater community. The center also works with other public and private stakeholders in a co-located elementary school to support community development. Connections with Ohio State students and faculty in many colleges of OSU provide valuable additions to the experiential learning environment. The center’s observation deck allows OSU students to observe child and child/teacher interactions, make connections with content from their academic courses and gain experience with best practices in early child education. Teaching staff at the center mentors student teachers from local community colleges and Ohio State within their classrooms.
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Adventure Central Summer Program
The Ohio State University (OSU) Extension, 4-H Youth Development and Five Rivers MetroParks partner to create Adventure Central, a “learning laboratory” which offers after-school, day-long and overnight summer programs, as well as subject area clubs, a youth board, a workforce prep program and family-focused programs. Adventure Central, located at Wesleyan MetroPark in Dayton, Ohio, has served school-age urban youth and their families from the surrounding neighborhood since 2000. Eighty percent of the youth qualify for free/reduced meals, and 99% of participants are African-American. Program activities focus on hands-on science, nature and technology-themed activities followed by processing questions, which demonstrate increased knowledge in weekly program theme areas. The research-based curriculum incorporates life skills and experiential activities with a focus on communication and leadership. Adventure Central encompasses teaching and research missions of the university, serving as a site for a partnering university’s service-learning, OSU students’ research and class field trips. OSU faculty, staff and volunteers serve as positive role models to youth in the program. Supplementary partnerships with the University of Dayton, Ohio Campus Compact, Ohio State University Extension Master Gardeners and Sisters of Notre Dame Mission Volunteer Program provided service of five full-time AmeriCorps positions that enriched the lives of youth in the program. Stated goals of Adventure Central include: providing youth development; providing positive, sustained adult and youth interaction; offering a variety of structured events and programs; assume young people have a say in their future; and encourage opportunities to serve in the community through service.
Evaluations confirm that youth participants found caring, trust, academic support, friendship and positive adult interactions. Adventure Center is a model of outreach for the 21st-century land-grant institution.
Learning in Fitness & Education (LiFE) Sports Initiative
Learning in Fitness & Education (LiFE) Sports Initiative is a comprehensive youth development initiative led by Ohio State’s Department of Athletics in partnership with the College of Social Work (CSW), Department of Recreational Sports, several University units and Boys and Girls Club of Columbus (BGCC). LiFE Sports’ mission is “to foster social competence among youth through their involvement in sport, fitness and educational activities.” LiFE Sports provides approximately 600 economically disadvantaged youth (ages 9-17) evidence-based sport and social skill instruction during the free one-month summer camp. Youth are also invited to booster sessions at BGCC throughout the school year. In addition to the service mission, LiFE Sports provides the university and community with teaching, learning and research opportunities. Eight university students participated in a youth development independent study to enhance their learning experience, which led to development of a course within CSW. A youth development minor is also being developed by faculty. Students and faculty have teamed to conduct research within LiFE Sports. The program is evaluated annually, providing students with first-hand experience in survey administration and data collection with youth. Faculty members developed a Social Responsibility in Sport Scale with psychometrically sound properties for use in youth development programs nationwide. Teamwork is a key element in the success of LiFE Sports.
Kid Corps’ Summer Enrichment Camp
OSU Kid Corps’ Summer Enrichment Camp is designed to extend learning and reading experiences throughout the summer for Columbus City School (CCS) students in grades K-6. This six-week program – the summer component of a year-round program – focuses specifically on enhancing children’s reading and social skills and provides healthy living activities. OSU, AmeriCorps, City of Columbus and CCS are partners in the program. OSU student corps members, which include Americorps and work-study students, are trained in and use evidence-based models for developing literacy and behavioral skills. Program staff provides students with training, modeling and lesson planning assistance in best teaching practices. Corps members interact directly with local community children and are also equipped to provide materials to parents for research-based activities and resources for increasing children’s literacy, social skills and physical health. In addition, the program allows OSU student corps members to work with CCS high school students who are interested in teaching careers. Kid Corps members serve as mentors and team leaders to high school students. The high school students involved in the program gain professional development experience as well as a better understanding in the importance of community involvement. Together OSU and CCS students extend fun learning and reading experiences.