Volunteering for a Habitat for Humanity build is not the usual activity for an English class, but Chattahoochee Technical College’s Marian Muldrow found a way to include 20 of her students. The group, along with other faculty, students and staff were at the Cartersville location of the Bartow Area Habitat for Humanity’s latest build site Saturday morning.
"Since service learning is one of the core values of CTC, I wanted to incorporate that along with unity and student-centered learning into my classes," said Muldrow. "The students have a few choices for a service project each month. I thought it would be a great opportunity to not only get to know the students better but also have them do something positive in the community."
Muldrow’s students are taking their experience back into the classroom with writing assignments related to the build. She asked each of them to pay attention to the sights, smells, sounds, and emotions they experienced. The result will be a descriptive essay about the project. This won’t be the only volunteering experience for her students either. Plans are already in place to participate in Covering the Bases in Acworth and clean up at Red Top Mountain, both of which are the class’s September events.
"To me, since the students have to write in different modes, why not allow them to do so with a firsthand experience while also meeting some of the core values of the college," Muldrow said.
Students and instructors learned about the build project through Chattahoochee Technical College’s Faculty Director of Service Learning Marcy Hehnly. In addition to students using the experience as part of their service learning requirement, several faculty and staff members chose this as a chance to volunteer. The college uses the service learning model to combine academic instruction with service in the community. Projects range from children, animals, health, crime prevention, seniors/elder care and the environment to many others.
"Service learning is important to the college for several reasons," said Hehnly. "They include encouraging students to actively and reflectively make a difference in themselves and today’s society, to help students and faculty reach academic and personal goals through service, to help students and faculty move beyond the classroom and become involved in the community and to provide networking opportunities to students within their academic program of study."
While the students were using the experience for service learning, others on the faculty and staff chose this as a volunteer experience. Cartersville resident and Chattahoochee Technical College Workforce Investment Act Career Coordinator Lori McAllister has been a long-time volunteer of the organization and worked on several of the building projects in the area.
"Volunteering with Habitat has led me to be directly involved with helping someone obtain decent and affordable housing for themselves and their family," said McAllister. "I work with non-traditional students at the college who are unemployed and sometimes living in precarious situations. Knowing that I can help people both with housing and career training makes me feel like I've touched others in ways that are life changing. That's a good feeling all the way around. Not to mention meeting new people every week!"
The collaboration between Chattahoochee Technical College and the Bartow Area Habitat for Humanity is something CTC Institutional Effectiveness Coordinator Renee Brown, who has participated in other service learning projects, was happy to see.
"The students, faculty and staff are great volunteers for these projects," explained Brown. "From students who had never seen a house being built before to our more experienced students who work in the construction industry, there was plenty for everyone to do to help."
For more information, go to Chatt Tech's service learning projects and volunteer opportunities site. For more about Habitat or to volunteer in its current build, contact Robin Hooker at 770-382-6293 or email email@example.com. Volunteers are needed weekly on Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.