On Monday, November 5, 2012, students in the Service Learning Chicago class presented their projects to faculty, staff and students at the West Suburban campus. Instructor Maureen Kelly, MSN, RN, is in charge of the Chicago service learning program.
Through Service Learning Chicago, an elective at Oak Point University, students seize the opportunity to go out in the community and serve. The class opens the door of community health to students. Once enrolled, they are able to pick a place of service so that the experience is most rewarding for each individual.
This past semester students went above and beyond as each one went out in the community to places such as the Centro Nuestro, The Irish American Heritage Center, and the Ronald McDonald House to make a difference. “Volunteering in the local community programs is about getting respect, and being asked to come back because you truly made a difference,” explains Maureen Kelly, the class’ professor.
Service Learning Chicago is more than applying what is taught in the classroom and at clinicals. It is about broadening your perspective. “The class teaches students to be aware of their community…As the class progresses there is a definite change in the students’ outlook,” said Kelly. Often, after being asked to find one place to volunteer at, students expand their efforts by working with two or more organizations. As Maureen Kelly puts it, “They have hearts bigger than this room, and made of pure gold.” As one of the many examples of service: four of the students volunteered at the local YMCA. Not only did they help with the centers Trick or Trunk event, they helped to build a playground.
Megan Culligan, one of the students in the class, worked in the Emergency Room of Roseland Hospital was very grateful of her experience saying, “My experiences at the hospital, the Bethesda Home and a domestic shelter changed my perspective by allowing me to see a much greater scope of practice for nursing than what I had previously been exposed to.”
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