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CCSI Newsletter

In This Issue:


  • Eleven Community Organizations Receive Donations from Move-Out Drive
  • Social Work Students Reflect on Service-Learning Experiences
  • Barry and Community Partners Host Hendrix College for Week of Service
  • Students Gain Global Perspectives While Pursuing Their Passions
  • Miami’s Salvation Army Appreciates Community Involvement
  • Newsletter to be Published Twice Next Month



Eleven Community Organizations Receive Donations from Move-Out Drive


Barry students donated more than 3500 pounds of clothes and household items as part of this year’s Move-Out Drive. Eleven community organizations have received the donations.


In addition to 96 formal dresses and other clothing items weighing 2361 pounds, the collection from students included dozens of footwear, 194 bed sheets, 107 blankets and comforters, and 265 towels. Also on the list were 15 mini-refrigerators, 10 microwaves, 318 pounds of food, and 181 books.


The organizations that received donations were Becca’s Closet, Chapman Partnership, Church World Service, Little Haiti Optimist Club, Lotus House, Miami Bridge Youth & Family Services, Miami Rescue Mission, Mount Tabor Missionary Baptist Church, Pass It On Ministries, Reduce Reuse Recycle, and Urban GreenWorks.


Move-Out Drive took place in May. Barry’s Office of Mission Engagement (OME) coordinated by the project with support from the Center for Community Service Initiatives (CCSI), Department of Housing and Residence Life, Facilities Management, Center for Student Involvement, and the Public Safety Department.


Volunteers assisted the staff members coordinating the project by collecting, sorting, and cleaning the donated items.


Formerly known as Dorm Drive, the initiative began as a project developed by community member Margaret Grizzle to divert students’ unwanted items from landfills and give resources to local organizations in support of underserved community residents. 



Social Work Students Reflect on Service-Learning Experiences


Barry social work students reflected on their service-learning experiences during a recent end-of-semester symposium. The 16 students had logged more than 720 hours of community service as part of SW 323: Service-Learning and Social Work Practice.


For one student, the experience was “enlightening.” For another, it was “mind-altering.”


Lourdy Cesar said his experience at Farm Share enhanced his “sense of civic engagement.” Rosa Gordon, who was assigned to the same community organization, said the service-learning project opened her eyes to food waste. As a result, she added, she was “making a commitment to be less wasteful and to consider the impact of waste on natural resources.”


Each student who took the service-learning course was required to provide at least 45 hours of service to one of three community organizations – Farm Share, Sinai Plaza Rehabilitation and NursingCenter, or Special Olympics Florida.


Farm Share’s mission is to alleviate hunger and malnutrition by recovering and distributing fresh and nutritious food to people who need it.


The students assigned to Farm Share had Ileana Abreu as their site supervisor. Abreu, the director of communication and development, said 3 in 10 Florida children experienced food insecurity. Speaking at the symposium, she mentioned that Farm Share concentrated its food distribution on communities deprived of fresh produce, which included “food deserts” such as Opa-Locka.


During the spring semester, students addressed food-insecurity and food-waste issues. They took part in food-distribution events and assisted with administering a survey in Opa-Locka, in Miami-Dade County, and tallying survey responses from Pahokee, in Palm Beach County.


Farm Share had asked Cesar, Gordon, and their teammates Bridget Andres and Shykera Coats to watch the documentary “Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story.” The students also read a report titled “Income & Poverty in Miami-Dade County: 2013.”


Sinai Plaza is one of seven centers operated by the Plaza Health Network. Located across the street from the main entrance to Barry’s MiamiShores campus, the 150-bed facility is a convenient service site for students. Seven students who took SW 323 formed “Team Sinai” for their service-learning project, which included conversations, games, and other social activities with residents of the nursing home.


Caroline Flores, King Guerrero, Alexis Prada, Luis Quinones, Johanna Rodriguez, Jennifer Sanhou, and Benedetie Sylvain all found the Sinai Plaza experience valuable because it “heightened our awareness of such a vulnerable population.” It was members of that group who called the experience “enlightening” and “mind-altering.”


Sinai Plaza Activities Director Nelson Ramirez and one of the nursing home residents attended the symposium. Ramirez told the students that they had made a positive impact on the lives of the residents.


Special Olympics Florida’s volunteer manager Amanda Spies joined students Bridget Andres (who split her service between that organization and Farm Share), Caitlin Connor, Decsiree Gonzalez, Cynthia Salazar, Marvin Fremont, and Efrem Scott for their reflection. Group members shared their experience supporting the organization’s work of providing year-round sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.


The students supported the organization’s Camp Shriver and its Jack in the Park precursor as well as the Special Olympics 5K Run and R-Word Campaign. They fulfilled leadership and counseling roles at the camp, Spies noted.


Miami’s MoorePark was the venue for the 2016 Camp Shriver. The camp is named for Eunice Kennedy Shriver, President John F. Kennedy’s sister, who started the event on her Maryland farm in 1962. CampShriver led to the founding of Special Olympics.


The national R-Word Campaign seeks to “spread the word to end the word.” The goal is to create more accepting attitudes and communities for all people by bringing attention to the power of language. The organizers of Barry’s participation in the campaign invited students to take the R-word pledge – to eliminate exclusive, offensive, and derogatory language from their conversations with family and friends and on social media. 


Preeti Charania, LCSW, was the SW 323 course instructor for the spring 2016 semester. She described her students as passionate and engaging.


The Ellen Whiteside McDonnell School of Social Work held its third annual Service-Learning Symposium in its RileyCenter just before the spring semester drew to a close. The symposium provided an opportunity for the students and faculty to thank community partners for facilitating the service-learning projects.


Participants included the Bachelor of Social Work Program Director Jennifer Williams; Master of Social Work Program Director Maria Teahan; Dr. Mitchell Rosenwald, associate professor and  former SW 323 instructor; and Yvonne Alonso, administrative assistant for student services.


Dr. Glenn Bowen, director of the Center for Community Service Initiatives (CCSI), and Liz James, experiential learning coordinator, attended the symposium.



Barry and Community Partners Host Hendrix College for Week of Service


Ten students and two staff members from Hendrix College, located in Conway, Arkansas, came to Miami last month for a week of service, experiential learning, and relationship building. The group worked alongside Barry Service Corps (BSC) fellows to perform service with several community organizations and learn about issues facing Miami’s Haitian community.


The participating community partners provided historical information about the Haitian community in Miami as well as an overview of current social issues faced by community members. Participating organizations included Fanm Ayisyen nan Miyami (Haitian Women of Miami), Gang Alternative, Urban Greenworks, Historic Virginia Key Beach Park Trust, and Little Haiti Optimist Club.


After canceling a mission trip to Haiti because of uncertainty about the country’s political situation, Hendrix staff contacted the CCSI to inquire about community service options in the Miami area. Courtney Berrien, CCSI associate director and Alternative Breaks advisor, coordinated the arrangements involving community partners, the BSC fellows, and the St. ThomasUniversity Center for Community Engagement (CCE).


“The weeklong service program was designed to build awareness about issues faced by Miami’s Haitian community,” Berrien noted. “The service and learning activities included urban gardening, mentoring, marine ecosystem restoration, and support of international development projects.”


The Hendrix group learned about Miami-based international organizations that provide economic development support to Haiti. Group members heard a presentation from Anthony Vinciguerra, CCE director, about St. Thomas University’s fair-trade partnership with the Café Cocano Cooperative. The group then helped to transport green coffee beans to Panther Coffee, a Miami artisan coffee roaster. Vinciguerra and Panther staff explained ways international trade practices can benefit or hurt farmers in developing countries.


The BSC fellows co-facilitated the program by serving as tour guides and campus–community liaisons as well as by contributing to discussions throughout the week. A few fellows also served on a Haitian student panel. Mickaelle Celigny, Gilberte Jean-Francois, and Presler Maxius informed Hendrix students about complicated issues of identity- and poverty-related challenges faced by the Haitian community.  


Hendrix College’s Miller Center for Vocation, Ethics and Calling coordinated the trip. Rev. J. J. Whitney, chaplain and trip leader, expressed appreciation for the Barry student leaders’ contributions.


“The service fellows certainly inspired our students to be more active, more curious, and more engaged in the community,” Whitney said.



Students Gain Global Perspectives While Pursuing Their Passions


Thanks to the School of Social Work Student Fellowship Fund, two students recently gained global perspectives and cultural enrichment.


Master of Social Work student Ana Miranda and Bachelor of Social Work student Quayneshia Smith traveled to Haiti with participants in the Alternative Breaks program, coordinated by the Center for Community Service Initiatives (CCSI).


“Both students have expressed a strong passion to help others through volunteer work and their social work profession,” the School of Social Work reported; “so when they found out about the program, it was a perfect fit.”


Smith was quoted as saying that she appreciated going to a new place to “learn about different ways people live and ways that you can help.”


Before taking the trip to Haiti, Miranda, Smith, and five other students met regularly with CCSI staff and faculty members to discuss issues that the population was facing. They also received cultural sensitivity training.


“Once there, the students got a chance to visit a hospital, among other places, where they realized that there was an immense need for social workers and counseling for family members,” the School of Social Work further reported.


“The counselors are only there to aid patients; so anyone else in the region that needs counseling or someone to talk doesn’t have much of a choice,” Miranda said. “There was no other person available for them.”


Smith added: “As a social worker, having the opportunity to do these trips confirms the importance of working with the community. I see how you can sit behind a desk, write policies, and advocate all you want; but unless you go to these communities and see and talk to these people, see what they need, what they’re going through and actually have that one-on-one rapport, I don’t think you’re going to be as passionate as you could be. You have to be with the people; commune with them, eat with them, talk to them to really get a full understanding to all the aspects of them. It makes you more driven and helps you advocate for their needs.”


Miami’s Salvation Army Appreciates Community Involvement


Barry University representatives attended The Salvation Army Miami Area Command’s 2016 Appreciation Luncheon, where individuals and organizations received recognition for their contributions to the organization and for making a difference in the lives of community members in need.


Representing Barry at the event, held at the Coral Gables Country Club on May 20, were CCSI Program Coordinator Andres Quevedo and Barry Service Corps Fellow Presler Maxius as well as the International and Multicultural Program’s Associate Director Freddie Frage and Coordinator Daisy Santiago.

The Salvation Army Miami Area Command offers ongoing assistance to people with limited resources in Miami-Dade County through shelters, rehabilitation centers, church activities, community centers, and emergency food programs and services.

With a commitment to “Doing The Most Good,” The Salvation Army is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs without discrimination.



Newsletter to be Published Twice Next Month


Engagement News will be published twice next month, the Center for Community Service Initiatives (CCSI) has announced.


The next issue of the newsletter is scheduled to be out on July 11, with another issue two weeks later. Regular weekly issues of the newsletter will return on August 22, at the start of the new academic year.


Engagement News is published by the Department of Marketing and Communications on behalf of the CCSI.


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