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Wayne State College Students Travel for Service-Learning Effort

Published Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

A group of Wayne State College students donated more than 500 hours of service over spring break during a trip to a homeless shelter March 9-11, 2009, in Springfield, Mo.

A group of Wayne State College students donated more than 500 hours of service over spring break during a trip to a homeless shelter March 9-11, 2009, in Springfield, Mo. The Kitchen, Inc. has provided housing, food and medical services to the homeless, underserved and uninsured in the Springfield area since 1983.

The shelter has 90 rooms with 46 people on the waiting list. There is a cost formula for services, however half is given back to the individuals when they move on from the shelter. For more information about the shelter, please visit http://www.thekitcheninc.org

Wayne State College Catholic campus minister Sr. Cynthia Hruby and students Adrianne Svitak (Schuyler), Anna Kang (China), Jaime Johannsen (Omaha), Sr. Inviolata Mukhaabi (Kenya), Ben Polacek (Bruno) and Oliver Warui (Kenya) participated in the trip and service.

"The spring break service-learning experience at The Kitchen Inc. was exceptional,'' Warui said. "The organization serves as a national model for holistic rehabilitation services for the homeless as recognized by the US Department of Housing and Urban development (1999) and also by Congress. I was thrilled by the opportunity of talking with The Kitchen Inc. founder Sr. Lorraine Biebel and the Chief Operations Officer Jeff Rens. I put my focus on their human resource development issues, which I have since incorporated into a class project. I learned that while serving others, listening and patience are important values. People are different and feel and react differently to all sorts of situations in life."

Students participated in activities with this non-profit organization to help meet the needs of the poor and homeless. Students selected programs with activities specific to their major area of study and interviewed the staff responsible for activities.

"The Service learning trip to The Kitchen, Inc., in Springfield was one of the most treasured experiences I have had,'' Kang said. "One of the extension programs that we visited was The Rare Breed youth outreach center for homeless or run away youth. The Center serves more than 500 youth. My major is human service counseling. A glimpse of the holistic program at The Kitchen helps me to reconfirm my major of study is my area of interest."

Students spoke with Dr. James Granden at Boyd Elementary, a school with approximately two dozen students who live at the shelter. The school partners with Drury University to provide intervention for these students. One of their concerns is the need for stabilization to avoid losing their caseworkers and school support. The school uses the Dr. James Comer process with six developmental pathways as a framework for making decisions that will benefit these children. The six pathways include physical, cognitive, psychological, language, social and ethical efforts. The school's approach relies on parents, educators, policy makers and community members to strengthen the educational environment.

"I really liked how the school kept a supply of winter clothing on hand to help those students who may need it. The principal of the school also mentioned about having drives to get school supplies for children who don't have them. Visiting this school was a good experience which related to my education major,'' Polacek said.

The trip was funded through a WSC Service-Learning sub-grant provided by the MidwestConsortium for Service-Learning. Service-Learning grants at WSC are part of a grant from the Midwest Consortium for Service-learning in Higher Education (MCSLHE) made possible through the Corporation for National Service under the Learn and Serve America: Higher Education grant program.