In 2013, CIEP first volunteered as part of Martin Luther King Volunteer Day—a campus wide event to serve the community while remembering Dr. King, who served his community by advocating for social change. A team of CIEP students participated in MLK Day in January as a way to kick off the service-learning project for the semester. Several students visited Country View Nursing Home to interact with and serve elderly residents, and other students volunteered at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank to clean and stock grocery items which had been donated to people in need.
After this initial experience, weekly service-learning opportunities were offered with sponsorship from the UNI Diversity Council Mini grant. CIEP students taught, helped, and played with economically-disadvantaged youth in Waterloo while learning the ways in which Salvation Army Family Activity Center (FAC) and other non-profit organizations meet the needs of a community. On Wednesdays, teams of 8-12 students volunteered at the Salvation Army Family Activity Center from 3:30-7:30 PM. Sessions included dinner time, play time, and leading or assisting with Power Hour, which was a time to focus on skills like math and language or learn about a different topic as planned by CIEP students and the Activities Coordinator.
Students who signed up to volunteer attended informational meetings once per week to learn about volunteer organizations and to plan lessons for volunteer sessions. The number of children each week ranged from 20-30 with ages ranging from six to 14. After the service-learning program, CIEP students continued to volunteer occasionally through the summer and again this fall.
For more information, contact the CIEP Activities Coordinator, Sally Roos.