Exemplary Community Service
Across the nation, college students are initiating community service projects to enhance the neighborhoods surrounding their home away from home. To celebrate these young volunteers, a coalition of national higher education associations has come together to launch CampusCares -- a new initiative to identify, celebrate, and encourage the involvement of America's campuses in serving the world beyond their gates.
The Johns Hopkins University is one of 50 colleges and universities that will be featured by CampusCares as the fall 2002 semester begins. Each campus offers service programs that illustrate higher education's dedication to fostering a commitment to community service and civic engagement among students, faculty, and staff.
Among the notable community outreach programs organized by undergraduate students at Johns Hopkins' Homewood campus:
Teach Baltimore is a non-profit organization founded in 1992 by two Johns Hopkins students. It's sponsored by the university and is entirely run by college students and recent graduates. The program attempts to address problems of low student achievement and decrease dropout rates through an innovative summer education program, taught by trained university students. Teach Baltimore teachers need not be education majors, but must be positive individuals who are willing to look for and expect the best from the students. A select group of Teach Baltimore instructors also participate in a specialized master's program in conjunction with the Graduate Division of Education at Johns Hopkins.
The Johns Hopkins Tutorial Project has been an active part of campus life since the 1950s when students volunteered to assist high school students in the community. In the early 1970s, it became apparent that academic assistance needed to focus on younger children. Since that time, elementary school children have been bussed or brought by their families to the Homewood campus twice weekly for free academic tutoring. Each semester, approximately 100 student volunteers are trained and then matched, one-on-one, with area schoolchildren for the 90- minute tutoring sessions. Staff members monitor the tutor/tutee relationship throughout the semester. Success is the goal; there are no grades, no report cards, no failures. Even small successes bring great rewards for both tutors and the children. The Tutorial Project will mark its 45th Anniversary in November 2003.
Germbusters is a biological theater club that was formed by three undergraduates in the spring of 1997. The students got the idea to produce plays for elementary school children as a creative approach to teaching biology and to show children that biology can be fun and exciting. Their debut performance was a general introduction to the immune system, a sort of a Ghostbusters/ Power Rangers action-adventure. Germbusters has about 25 undergraduate members with a wide range of majors. Germbusters is funded by a portion of a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to strengthen undergraduate education programs and research opportunities in the biological sciences.
Salud is the Spanish word for "health." It is also the name of a Johns Hopkins University Homewood campus initiative for Hispanic/Latino Health. Programa Salud aims to alleviate the cultural and linguistic barriers that many Hispanics/Latinos in Baltimore encounter when seeking medical care. It targets this community through health fairs, health education presentations and community outreach. But Salud also targets their healthcare providers through cultural competency training and interpretation services. Salud is composed of student volunteers and works with a number of partner institutions throughout Baltimore.
Each fall, incoming freshmen spend a day getting to know Baltimore by volunteering. On Wednesday, Sept. 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the class of 2006 will spend its Freshmen Day of Service working with local groups such as Habitat for Humanity, the Baltimore Zoo and the House of Ruth.
To speak with William Tiefenwerth, director of Community Relations and Volunteer Services, or to meet students involved in these programs, contact Amy Cowles at 410-516-7160. For more information about community outreach on the Homewood campus, visit www.jhu.edu/crvs/. For more information about CampusCares, visit www.campuscares.org/newsroom/launchschools.html.
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