Community Engagement News

Students taking Communication for Social Change focused their advocacy projects on food security, environmental preservation, youth development, and care for homeless persons.

Community Engagement

May 02, 2022. 5 min read

Community Engagement Community Engagement News May 2, 2022

Students Log 2,000 Hours of Service as Part of Community-Engaged Courses Throughout Semester

Service-learning projects enhance student learning while benefiting community

Najaz Williams

Najaz Williams, a student taking an English for Speakers of Other Languages course in the School of Education, converses with a recently resettled refugee from Afghanistan.

Students taking designated service-learning and other community-engaged courses this semester provided approximately 2,000 hours of service.

Among them were students in Dr. Katherine Nelson’s COM 201, Communication for Social Change, who engaged in direct service and advocacy. Their service sites included Camillus House, a humanitarian service facility in Miami, and the Barry Urban Garden, which supplies produce to neighborhoods near campus.

Posting images and related messages on Instagram, the students focused their advocacy projects on food security, environmental preservation, youth development, and care for homeless persons. Community partners included Breakthrough Miami, Bread for the World, and Florida Rising.

Kevian Lewis and some of his COM 201 classmates promoted permaculture, a sustainable approach to gardening. They pointed out that permaculture could turn an arid plot of land into an oasis.

Students studying Communication for Social Change engage in advocacy by posting images and related messages on Instagram.

Meanwhile, students in Dr. Tamara Hamilton’s Chemistry 490, Senior Seminar, provided science-related tutoring to refugee students in the Jacksonville area. Similarly, Dr. Stephanie Bingham’s biology students served as tutors at Arch Creek Elementary School in North Miami.

Sofia Chamorro, one of the biology students, enjoyed helping kids learn about the classification of organisms. For David Henry, one of Sofia’s classmates, “it was a joyful experience.”

“I saw a younger version of myself in the students,” David noted as he reflected on his experience. “Their faces lit up when they found out they could do all kinds of [creative] things.”

As part of an English for Speakers of Other Languages course in the School of Education, Dr. Heather Johnson Desiral’s students supported Church World Service Miami’s refugee resettlement program. The students spent time with some of the new Miami-Dade residents, assessing their English language needs and conducting rudimentary English orientation activities.

Students spend time with some of the new Miami-Dade residents, assessing their English language needs and conducting rudimentary English orientation activities.

Students spend time with some of the new Miami-Dade residents, assessing their English language needs and conducting rudimentary English orientation activities.

As part of an English for Speakers of Other Languages course, students support Church World Service Miami’s refugee resettlement program. Jainette Figuerola is seen taking lots of notes.

As part of an English for Speakers of Other Languages course, students support Church World Service Miami’s refugee resettlement program. Jainette Figuerola is seen taking lots of notes.

Students enrolled in theology, sociology, psychology, nursing, and other courses also completed service-learning projects. Some students participated in projects on Barry’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service in January and Sustainability Saturday in April. Also, some took part in events organized by Miami PACT – People Acting for Community Together, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, and other community partners.

Social work, theology, and sociology students contributed the largest portion of the 1,900 hours of service this semester. Theology faculty members—including Luis De Prada, Sister Mary Frances Fleischaker, Dr. Christopher Jones, and Fr. Jorge Presmanes—assigned their students to activities mainly through the service-learning/civic engagement modules coordinated by the Center for Community Service Initiatives (CCSI).

As part of the requirements for Service-Learning and Social Work Practice, students did teamwork in assisting with various community-focused projects throughout the semester. The course instructor, Mrs. Lizbeth Valdez James, MSW, reported that the projects enhanced student learning while benefiting the community.

Mrs. James and her students made a presentation on course outcomes at Barry’s Eighth Annual Community Engagement Symposium on March 30. The same students and others are expected to participate in the annual Service-Learning Symposium organized by the School of Social Work this Tuesday (May 3). The event will take place from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. in the Kostka Room on the second floor of Thompson Hall.


Barry Students Contribute to Environmental Preservation at Miami-Dade County Park

Australian Pine
Australian Pine

Miami-Dade County is trying to get rid of the Australian Pine, which kill understory plants.

A team of Barry students and staff went to Matheson Hammock Park on Sustainability Saturday—the last day of Barry’s Earth Week celebration—to help preserve the health of South Florida’s coastal environs.

The county park, located along Biscayne Bay near Coral Gables, includes over 600 acres of mangroves and other marine vegetation.

The Barry team spent the afternoon removing invasive species, including the Australian Pine, which was introduced to Florida in the late 1800s as a salt-tolerant tree that could provide shade while serving as a windbreak along coastal areas and protecting commercial crops. Currently, Miami-Dade County is trying to get rid of the Australian Pine, which kill the understory of native plants.

Matheson Hammock Marina Manager Marjorie Suarez hosted the group from Barry. Sonya Thompson, environmental resources project supervisor for natural areas management at Miami-Dade County Parks and Recreation, joined Suarez to provide the project orientation. They spoke about the importance of removing invasive species and described how non-native plants can threaten native plants.

Ten service-learning students and three Barry Service Corps Fellows were among members of the Barry team who took part in the last major day of service for this academic year. The service project provided an avenue for them to contribute to the Adrian Dominican commitment to uphold the “sacredness of the Earth.”


Barry University Nurse Practitioner Students Host Community Health and Wellness Fair

Health and Wellness Fair

By Meredith Amor

Barry University graduate nursing students offered a day of free health screenings, education, and fun to the general public on Barry’s Miami Shores campus recently.

From nutrition to exercise, mental health, acupressure, skin care, heart health, foot care, COVID-19 education, and more, the fair focused on total body health. The fair, on April 23, also featured entertainment for the whole family.

A comprehensive community health event, the Health and Wellness Fair is part of the core curriculum of Barry’s graduate Nurse Practitioner program, giving students the opportunity to assess and address community health needs.

Student organizer Stephanie Kolam shared that producing the fair was a highlight of her educational experience at Barry University. “At the end of the day, we’re soon-to-be nurse practitioners, and we care deeply about the community and well-being,” she said. “Good health starts in the community, and we are proud to do our part to promote that.”

Commitments to collaborative service and advancing social justice are pillars of the Barry University mission, and the health fair is one of the many ways the College of Nursing and Health Sciences works to realize these commitments. 

Barry students have been coordinating the fair in communities across South Florida for many years. After the fair took place online last year due to the pandemic, students, faculty, and staff were thrilled to be back in person and inviting the local community to campus.

Dr. Laura Albuja, assistant professor of nursing, said the event benefits the community and contributes to the education of compassionate, competent healthcare providers. “Providing a valuable service and promoting health is aligned with our Barry University mission,” she noted. “Furthermore, we enjoy working with our students as they learn to reach members of the local community where they host the fair in an effective, professional, and methodological way.”

Although the Health and Wellness Fair is organized by graduate nurse practitioner students, it involves participation across Barry healthcare programs, including the School of Podiatric Medicine, the Nurse Anesthesiology program, Counseling, the School of Social Work, the Occupational Therapy program, undergraduate and doctoral Nursing programs, and Exercise Physiology, as well as the Florida Department of Health and top healthcare providers in the region.


Community Engagement Awards: Celebrating Achievements in Service, Collaboration, and Scholarship—A Pictorial Report

Barry’s Ninth Annual Community Engagement Awards was a memorable event. Organized and hosted by the CCSI, it was the first in-person celebration of achievements in community-focused service, campus–community collaboration, and engaged scholarship since the onset of COVID-19.

Community Engagement Awards
Community Engagement Awards
Ninth Annual Community Engagement Awards
Community Engagement Awards
Community Engagement Awards
Community Engagement Awards
Community Engagement Awards
Community Engagement Awards
Community Engagement Awards
Community Engagement Awards
Community Engagement Awards
Community Engagement Awards
Community Engagement Awards
Community Engagement Awards
Community Engagement Awards
Community Engagement Awards

We have moved

The offices of the Center for Community Service Initiatives (CCSI) are now located on the second floor of Thompson Hall. The main office is Thompson 211.


givePulse

GivePulse is the community engagement platform that supports service-learning courses at Barry.


Community Engagement News

SPRING SEMESTER HIGHLIGHTS: The semester’s community engagement events, including Days of Service, are highlighted in a pictorial report.


Community Engagement News is a publication of the Center for Community Service Initiatives.

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