LAWRENCE – The University of Kansas Center for Civic and Social Responsibility has announced the recipients of its 2014 Excellence in Service Learning Awards, given to one faculty member, one student and one community partner in recognition of exceptional dedication to service learning efforts, community effects and student development.
Recipients of this year’s awards are Dory Sabata, clinical assistant professor in occupational therapy education; Leigh Loving, senior from McPherson, and the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence.
Sabata received the faculty award for building a service-learning program in the occupational therapy education program at KU Medical Center.
“Dory coordinates all service learning activities,” said Lisa Mische Lawson, occupational therapy associate professor. “She supports both the service-learning mentors and the students to make sure things go smoothly and both academic and program goals are met.”
Sabata’s efforts began in 2011 with one class of students working with a few community partners. By 2014, it had grown the program to a yearlong service learning project that collaborates with more than a dozen partners.
“We would not have service learning without Dory,” Lawson said.
Loving received the Student Excellence in Service Learning Award for demonstrating community awareness and engagement as well as academic and personal achievement through service learning.
Loving, a junior majoring in genetics, earned a Certification in Service Learning by taking ABSC 310: Building Healthy Communities and HNRS 492: Citizen Philanthropy. In these classes, she learned about sustainable community efforts and positive outcomes.
Loving is also the founder and president of the Jayhawk Health Initiative, a student-run international service program that helps bring medical and dental care to underserved communities in Panama.
Loving says she “took her education outside the classroom” when she organized and led 25 pre-health undergraduates on the first Jayhawk Health Initiative medical mission to Panama in 2013. Preparation for the second trip is currently underway.
Loving says of her service learning and community efforts, “A truly balanced education needs the traditional academic side along with experiential learning through service.”
The Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence received Community Partner Excellence in Service Learning Award for demonstrating commitment to the academic, civic and personal development of students by facilitating effective service learning environments. The Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence (BGCL) is an after-school program that offers educational and recreational programs to build character, academic success and healthy lifestyles in youths. BGCL hosts university service learning students from more than a dozen KU departments each year and works with multiple student groups to put on youth-oriented holiday and sporting events. These collaborations benefit students as much as they provide opportunities for the Boys and Girls Club youth, teaching them leadership, management and relationship-building skills.
“A lot of what helped me get through the challenges of starting my first ‘real’ job I credit back to my service learning project with Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence,” said honors English program and service learning alumna Meghan Crylen. “It was where I realized that applying what I learned with what I experienced was a powerful combination and a true agent for change.”
The Center for Civic and Social Responsibility recognized all three award winners at the 2014 Experiential Learning Certification Celebration in conjunction with recognition of students who received certifications in service learning, leadership studies, research experience, global awareness, and arts engagement.
Service Learning is a teaching method that integrates meaningful community service with curriculum to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. The Center for Civic and Social Responsibility was established in 2005 and promotes the interconnectedness of teaching, research and service.