Archive for Community Service

Thin v. Thick Service

Posted in CSL with tags , , , on April 21, 2011 by JennaBrager

By Jenna Brager


Submit to the Community Service-Learning at UMD blog

Posted in Community Partners, CSL with tags , , , on February 9, 2011 by umdcsl

This blog is open to University of Maryland students, faculty, and staff, as well as community partners. I hope that this blog becomes a chorus of voices, with posts by individuals involved in all the aspects and ends of service, about the issues we are passionate about and our experiences working particularly with service-learning. I hope it will serve as an online space of community as well as exposing individuals to the idea of service.

Blog posts should be between 300 and 1,000 words, and ideally would also include visuals such as pictures or youtube videos, links to volunteer sites, etc. Posts should be e-mailed to jbrager [at], and can be sent anytime.

Questions to think about:

Are you passionate about social change? Do you have a cause that you want to get more people involved in? Have you had a volunteer experience that moved you or changed your mind about something?

If you are a volunteer:
What was your service experience? What was unique and especially moving about it?
What did you learn from this experience? How did your perspective change and what are you doing as a result?
Why did you get involved, and why should others get involved?
How can others get involved with this issue or project?
What would you like to tell others about community service?
Do you ever relate your volunteerism to your coursework for school? If so, how?

If you work with a community agency:
What social issues do you work with?
What are you personally passionate about? How did you get involved and what kind of work do you do?
Why do you like working with University students?
What do you wish they knew?

Thank you!

Terp Service Days with VITAS Innovative Hospice Care

Posted in CSL, Terp Corps with tags , , on October 26, 2010 by umdcsl

This past Sunday, as a part of Terp Service Days, a group of University of Maryland students worked with VITAS Innovative Hospice Care to help terminally ill patients and their families with household tasks. Students visited with the patient and helped the family with landscaping and other tasks.

“On behalf of VITAS and the wonderful families we serve, Thank You! Words cannot express my appreciation for all of the hard work you put in yesterday to spruce up the yards of two of our VITAS patients. It is part of VITAS’s mission to add quality of life to our patients in innovative ways. I think we accomplished that on Sunday.

While both families were very different, their needs were similar…I am hopeful that this experience gave you a small glimpse of hospice, the patients and families that we serve and how sacrificing just a bit of your time can go a long way.” –Denise Fraction, Volunteer Services Manager, VITAS Innovative Hospice Care

About VITAS:
VITAS Innovative Hospice Care, the nation’s leading hospice provider, delivers comprehensive care for patients facing life-limiting illness. It is known for providing friendly, non-medical patient and family. VITAS recognizes the importance of a strong and innovative program. Volunteers are an integral part of the hospice program allowing VITAS to continue personalizing, enhancing, and expanding services offered to patients and families. Through exemplifying VITAS values, volunteers serve as patient and family advocates and are pro-active in helping to meet the needs of patients and families. VITAS integrate volunteers into the hospice program by actively recruiting, training, supporting, and creatively utilizing volunteers to meet patient and family needs.

UMD Students Help with NFI Community Garden for Terp Service Kickoff

Posted in Community Partners with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2010 by umdcsl

On Sunday, September 26th, twelve students from University of Maryland braved gloomy weather and giant mud puddles to help out our urban farm at the Mamie D Lee Community Garden in Ward 5. They worked on plots managed by my organization, the Neighborhood Farm Initiative (NFI), a nonprofit started in 2008 to improve access to healthy food, farm and garden education, and under-utilized green space to residents in the District.

Despite being novices to the world of organic farming, the UMD students were enthusiastic and interested. They asked great questions (“Do you release any natural predators onto the farm?” “What nutrients do cover crops put back into the soil?” “Do you really go to the bathroom in the woods?!”) and accomplished an enormous amount in only a few hours.

They helped us transition the land from summer to winter production in plots that were used to grow tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and herbs this summer. This is no easy feat, involving hours of digging the soil, picking out stubborn and thick weeds, turning the soil, and raking it smooth. Then we planted a cover crop (a mixture of buckwheat, peas, and vetch) that will grow and replenish nutrients in the soil for sustained production next spring and summer. The group also weeded plots of lettuces, radishes, bok choi, collared greens, kale, and squash.

The highlight of the day: the students harvested 10 sweet potatoes! Some were as tiny as golf balls, while others could have been mistaken for misshapen footballs. The sweet potatoes, as well as radishes, and peppers harvested by the UMD students amounted to almost 10 pounds of food, all of which was donated to Food and Friends, a nonprofit organization that cooks healthy meals for people with life-challenging illnesses.

I was worried that hours of digging and weeding in light rain and muddy soil wouldn’t be the ideal way for our volunteers to spend a Sunday. But the students said they actually enjoyed getting outside and working with their hands – it was a nice release from the whirl of classes, papers, and all-nighters – and they wanted to come back again. It was a pleasure working with these intelligent, eager, and good-natured individuals and I hope they, and any other UMD students, come back and visit our farm again soon!

–Kat Bawden
Neighborhood Farm Initiative