September 18th, 2017

College of Urban Affairs hosts ‘Day of Service’

The Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs will hold its first “Day of Service” for the semester on Sept. 23, at Providence House, a crisis nursery working within the community to stop child abuse.

Started last fall by Joseph Mead, an assistant professor of nonprofit management and public administration, this is the third time this event has coordinated and volunteered with local non-profits. Previously the event has taken place with City Mission and Drink Local, Drink Tap, two organizations which have strong ties to the college’s alumni.

Mead describes the activity as an informal event meant to give students an opportunity to get involved in the community.

“Part of what makes the urban college special in my view is that all of our programs, graduate or undergraduate, are oriented around service, serving the community,” Mead said. “I thought it would be a good opportunity for students to engage with something that really matters.”

Providence House, founded in 1981, provides temporary shelter and crisis care to children, from babies to 10 years old, and works to educate the parents who may be struggling with things such as substance abuse or medical problems.

Roger Barnhard, a volunteer with the not-for-profit, explains that the ultimate goal is to give the parents the tools and resources to care for their children properly, and in the end reunite the family.

“They know that it’s safe because they’re going to be given help,” Barnhard said. “They want to keep their children. They’re there because they’re in crisis and they don’t want to lose their children.”

While this is a casual event – participants potentially spending the day organizing donations or simply tidying up the playground – it sends a larger message, according to Mead.

“It’s about a mindset,” he explained. “We tend to focus on what we’re doing for ourselves, academically how we are positioning ourselves. It’s always good to remind everybody that, actually first and foremost, I want them to think of how we can serve the community. Like how do you do good [in your community], not just do well for yourself.”


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