Community Engagement News

Students make a difference in the community on Founders’ Day of Service ● President Allen highlights ‘fight for social justice’ exemplified through collaborative service ● Undergraduate Christa Jeanty is contributing to community impact through Easterseals.

Community Engagement

Nov 15,2021 . 5 min read

Community Engagement Community Engagement News November 15, 2021

Students Make a Difference in the Community on Founders’ Day of Service

Projects implemented at four community sites near campus

Students Make a Difference

Dr. Whitney Watkins, Barry’s dual enrollment program director, and two students—Juliana Castellanos and Joanna Destine—put some muscle into one of their tasks on Barry Founders’ Day of Service. The trio helped to ready a former church building that will become North Miami’s Cristo Rey School.

Dozens of students turned out on Founders’ Day of Service to celebrate Barry’s commitment to community engagement. The students made a difference in the community near campus, where they engaged in various projects designed to improve physical and social spaces.

Together with administrators, staff members, and alumni, the students rendered service at the Hubert O. Sibley K–8 Academy, the Cristo Rey School site, Stanton Memorial Baptist Church, and Shoreside Health and Rehabilitation Center. 

Two groups served on campus. One group did various tasks in the Barry Urban Garden. The other created an online campaign supporting the work of Housing Opportunities Projects for Excellence (HOPE), Inc. by raising awareness of housing discrimination.

Founders’ Day of Service signaled the start of Founders’ Week 2021. University President Dr. Mike Allen, who participated in the opening ceremony, thanked students for turning out in large numbers. (See separate story below.)

Hubert O. Sibley K–8 Academy

At Sibley, students did a clean-up/paint-up project. They spruced up the teachers’ lounge, the base of the school sign, and elsewhere with a fresh coat of paint. Also, they painted positive assertions on the doors of a restroom stall.

One group at Sibley gave a garden a makeover by removing weeds, spreading mulch, and planting butterfly-attracting perennials such as milkweed and shrimp plant. 

The volunteers served alongside Mrs. Chandrell Larkin, the school principal; Ms. Ines Diaz, an assistant principal; and several teachers. A Barry alumna, Ms. Diaz is a member of the university’s Community Advisory Committee.

While demonstrating dexterity with a paint roller, Judson Remy shared: “I really like helping the community and meeting new people. … Service—it’s all about helping out other people rather than [focus on] yourself.” 

Shaunelle Wall Marshall, an associate director of Barry’s Career Development Center, served together with a dozen of her Orientation (ORI) 100 students in the garden.

Meanwhile, Verlinda Cher-Aime, an academic success coach, lent a hand with the painting project at Sibley.

Students Make a Difference

Above: Luis Robles lends a hand with a cleanup task on the school compound, and Emily Acosta adds a positive message to the door of a restroom stall.

Below: Judson Remy paints the walls of the teachers’ lounge at Sibley.

Students Make a Difference

Cristo Rey School Site

Day of service participants removed old pews from a church building that will be the new home of Cristo Rey School. They also cleaned up the property.

The volunteers included Dr. Victor Romano, associate provost for student success and undergraduate studies.

Students Make a Difference

Discarding church benches into a dumpster at the Cristo Rey School site are Alexander Carlisle, Ulises Hernandez, and Lola Vaquera.

Stanton Memorial Baptist Church

The volunteers’ main task was to paint the exterior walls of buildings on the church premises.

“I enjoy helping people and giving back to others,” Kylie Miller, a freshman, said.

Miller was among students completing the experiential learning requirement of ORI 100, an orientation course coordinated by the Division of Mission and Student Engagement.

Students Make a Difference

Among students pictured painting a building on the Stanton Memorial Baptist Church premises is freshman Kylie Miller (right).

Shoreside Health and Rehabilitation Center

Students spent time with residents in the activity room at Shoreside (formerly Sinai Plaza Rehabilitation and Nursing Center). Together they watched an action movie.

Students Make a Difference

Barry Urban Garden 

The students, staff/administrators, and community members who were assigned to the Barry Urban Garden did such tasks as weeding, turning the soil, and creating a walking path. Additionally, they placed stones with words of inspiration painted on them along the path.

Joining Tesean Caesar, Precious Charles, Dajai Dickson, Emma Winter, and other Barry students were two high school students. Cai Liz and Ashley Ortega are benefiting from a mentoring program under the aegis of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami, a Barry community partner.

Students Make a Difference

Above: Dajai Dickson tends vegetables in a garden plot on campus, and a positive message is seen on a stone placed in the garden.

Below: Cai Liz, a student of Cutler Bay High School, shows off a bunch of bananas harvested by CCSI Program Facilitator Kaitlyn Gallagher. Bananas, other fruits, and vegetables from the Barry Urban Garden are delivered to community fridges in Miami neighborhoods such as Little Haiti.

Students Make a Difference


President Allen Highlights ‘Fight for Social Justice’ Exemplified Through Collaborative Service

President Allen

President Mike Allen delivers remarks to kick off Founders’ Day of Service. Dr. Allen highlighted Barry’s commitment to social justice and collaborative service.

The principles on which Barry University was founded are being lived out every day, President Mike Allen has said.

Delivering remarks to kick off Founders’ Day of Service, Dr. Allen specified the principles reflected in Barry’s core commitments of social justice and collaborative service. He highlighted “the fight for social justice that we exemplify through collaborative service.”

Founders’ Day of Service, November 6, marked the start of Barry Founders’ Week 2021. The participants gathered in the Roussell Dining Hall before taking to the service sites—in the community and on campus. 

Dr. Allen thanked student leaders for their testimonials on “What Does Service Mean to Me?” Testimonials were given by Barry Service Corps Fellows Derricha Joseph-Taylor, Daryle Pyles, Samuel Vilmeau, and MariaJose Fernandez. 

Welcoming participants, Dr. Glenn Bowen, executive director of the Center for Community Service Initiatives (CCSI), noted that service was “in Barry’s DNA.” He said the day’s collaborative service projects would demonstrate Barry’s embrace of “stewardship of place,” a commitment to place-based community engagement. 

In attendance were Dr. Scott Smith, vice president for mission and student engagement; Dr. Roxanne Davies, associate vice president for mission and student engagement; and Dr. Victor Romano, associate provost for student success and undergraduate studies. 

The CCSI’s experiential learning coordinator, Liz James, delivered the invocation. Ms. James and a team of AmeriCorps VISTA members—Gabriel Bouani, Kaitlyn Gallagher, and Joseph Minani—coordinated the service projects implemented that day.


Barry Service Corps Member Christa Jeanty Brings Joy to the Elderly

Barry Service Corps Member Christa Jeanty

Christa Jeanty brings joy to the elderly at Easterseals South Florida, a nonprofit healthcare organization, where serves as an activities assistant.

Within a year active at Easterseals, Christa has provided various forms of assistance. For example, she has assisted with service provision by developing presentations targeted to elderly persons served by the organization. As she tells it, “These presentations help residents with their cognitive thinking and are also used as a source of entertainment.”

Founded in 1942, Easterseals South Florida has been serving families in South Florida for nearly 80 years.

“My work helps clients with cognitive skills such as thinking, remembering, knowing, judging, and problem solving,” Chris explains. “My goal is to work on certain areas that they may have trouble with and also recognize their strengths.” 

Through her service, Christa has learned many things about herself and about what her focus should be after graduating from Barry. A junior nursing major, she says her service at Easterseals not only allows her to assist with service delivery but also to “have good insight of rehabilitation center functions.” She has shadowed nurses and assisted social workers, and she has learned from them.

Christa’s support to patients is varied as they require different levels of assistance. What she does depends on which patient she is assisting. On any given day, she may have three patients to interact with and assist in different ways. And, to keep things fun, Christa plays music and provides visual elements that the residents really seem to enjoy.

Easterseals South Florida

Easterseals South Florida Activities Director Emilia Mas says of Christa: “She learned quickly how to develop a presentation according to the level of function of our participants … and how to work with [them]. She treats our participants with a lot of patience and respect.”

Ms. Mas, who has served Easterseals for over 10 years, describes the Barry student as “flexible, reliable, and respectful.” She appreciates how well Christa “learned how to identify the preference of our participants, like the music they enjoy and how to manage challenging behaviors in an excellent way during the Zoom meetings.” 

Barry Service Corps 

The Barry Service Corps is a civic learning and leadership program of the Center for Community Service Initiatives (CCSI). Some students, like Christa, participate through Federal Work-Study Community Service.

“I saw the Barry Service Corps as a good opportunity for me to branch out more and help communities in need,” says Christa, who is originally from Haiti. “As a future nurse, I wanted a service opportunity that would allow me to learn how to work with people and learn more about the community where I am currently living.”

Through the Barry Service Corps, Christa has learned many valuable skills. “Barry Service Corps has taught me how to perfect my resume, how to be professional and effective in my communication with my supervisor, and how to critically think in a workplace.”

Christa is encouraging everyone to volunteer and donate to Easterseals. According to her, “Volunteering at places like Easterseals can be a great experience. People can use [the experience] … to be more appreciative of life or as a learning experience.”

Editor’s Note: Writer Amanda Gonzalez Garcia is a Barry Service Corps member assigned to the Center for Community Service Initiatives.


University Earns Silver for Student Voting Rate in Recent Presidential Election

University Earns Silver for Student Voting Rate

The results are all in, and Barry has earned a silver seal—a step down from where the university was two years ago. 

ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge awarded the silver seal to Barry for nonpartisan student voter participation efforts in the 2020 election season. The silver seal was awarded to colleges and universities that achieved a student voting rate of 60 to 69 percent in the presidential election.

Barry earned a gold seal based on the student voting results for the 2018 midterm election.

ALL IN announced the winners of diamond, platinum, gold, silver, and bronze seals last Monday (Nov. 8). The national organization hosted its awards ceremony virtually. 

In a pre-awards announcement, Dr. Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, executive director of ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge at Civic Nation, congratulated Barry on its achievement. 

ALL IN “empowers colleges and universities to achieve excellence in nonpartisan student democratic engagement.” 

The Campus Democracy Project (CDP) played a major role in Barry’s get-out-the-vote efforts. The CDP, which includes BucsVote, is a civic learning and democratic engagement project managed by the CCSI.


Professional Development Workshop for Community Partners Set for This Thursday

Dr. Eva Nowakowski-Sims

The CCSI will host a professional development workshop on program evaluation for community partners this Thursday (Nov. 18). 

Dr. Eva Nowakowski-Sims, an associate professor of social work, will present the 90-minute workshop on “Logic Models: An Effective Approach to Program Evaluation.” 

The Community–Academic Partnerships Workshop replaces the Community Engagement Fair.

According to workshop coordinator Liz James, attendees will (a) learn how to identify the elements and function of a logic model, (b) understand how the elements of the logic model inform program evaluation, and (c) create a simple and clear logic model.


Community-Based Research is One of Seven Categories of Awards for Community Engagement

Community Engagement Awards: Submit a Nomination

Community-Based Research is one of seven categories of community engagement awards for which nominations are being accepted.

The Community-Based Research Award is presented to scholars—faculty members and/or students—who conduct rigorous research with community partners in response to community concerns, issues, or needs. 

Students, faculty and staff members, and community partners are invited to submit nominations by the last Friday of January.

The most recent winner of the Community-Based Research Award was Dr. Ruth Ban, a professor in the School of Education. Three years earlier, in 2015, Dr. Lauren Shure, a faculty member in the School of Education, was the winner. In 2014, Dr. Gerene “Gerry” Starratt (School of Education) and Dr. Nauris Tamulevicius (School of Human Performance and Leisure Sciences) won the award. 

The CCSI will host Barry’s Ninth Annual Community Engagement Awards Ceremony on March 30.

Nominations will be accepted also in six other categories: Community Impact, Community Partnerships, Community-Engaged Scholarship, Community Engagement Educator, Service-Learning Faculty, and Engaged Department. Additional information and the nomination forms are available from the CCSI at service@barry.edu.


Community Engagement News

SERVICE-LEARNING COURSE: A public relations course developed by a former service-learning faculty fellow has been approved for the service-learning designation.

COMMUNITY IMPACT: Undergraduate Amanda Gonzalez Garcia has been contributing to community impact through the Barry Service Corps.

COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP: Barry’s partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami is progressing. However, more mentors (“Bigs”) are needed.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AWARDS: Community-Engaged Scholarship is one of the seven categories of community engagement awards for which the CCSI has called for nominations.


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

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