Before heading to their first classes of the fall term, U-M students from two schools spent part of an August day gaining hands-on experience with non-profit organizations in areas that will become part of their careers.
(from left to right) Lauren Ferin, Kevin Boehke, and Hilary Keno help sort food during the School of Public Health "Practice Plunge" at Food Gatherers in Ann Arbor, Mich. (Photo by Eric Bronson, Michigan Photography)
School of Public Health students prepare to put food into boxes during "Practice Plunge" at Food Gatherers in Ann Arbor, Mich. (Photo by Eric Bronson, Michigan Photography)
Janima Banerjee (left) helps Madeleine Ma tape up a box for food storage during the School of Public Health "Practice Plunge" at Food Gatherers in Ann Arbor, Mich. (Photo by Eric Bronson, Michigan Photography)
Andrew Vidikan (left) and Akilesh Daseri stack boxes full of food to donate during the School of Public Health "Practice Plunge" at Food Gatherers in Ann Arbor, Mich. (Photo by Eric Bronson, Michigan Photography)
Avalon Housing operations manager Jude Walton tells the School of Public Health students about the organization and the landscaping work needed to be "good neighbors" in the area near Eberwhite School. Avalon Housing is a 20-year-old supportive housing program in Ann Arbor, Mich., that houses more than 400 residents who were homeless or at risk of homelessness. (Photo by Mary Beth Bruno Lewis, School of Public Health)
Students from the School of Public Health weed gardens at the SOS Community Services Housing Access Center in Ypsilanti. They cleaned the kitchen and other areas of the historic house used by SOS to serve people who face homelessness. The entering graduate students also weeded flower and vegetable gardens and spruced up the outside of the house that also serves as a community food pantry, operated in conjunction with Food Gatherers. (Photo by Laurel Thomas Gnagey, U-M News Service)
School of Social Work students board the bus to participate in their community service day in Detroit. (Photo by Kevin Thomas, School of Social Work)
Social work student Jane Lim works in the yard at Bryant Community Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. The center provides youth programs including homework assistance and tutoring, life skills, and recreational activities. (Photo by Jerome Rork)
(from left to right) School of Social Work students Veronica Groom, Saniyah Shahid, Liliana Gomez, Mariana Voica, Matt Lowther and Grace Rudatsikira clean books and sort toys at the Kids – TALK Children's Advocacy Center in Detroit. (Photo by Kevin Thomas, School of Social Work)
Esmirna Ramirez prepares beds at a community garden in Detroit during the School of Social Work's Community Service Day. Greening of Detroit contributes farming resources and educational opportunities to more than 15,000 urban gardeners, supporting over a thousand gardens in Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park. (Photo by Ebony Hartsfield)
School of Social Work student Jillian Albert paints bowls for the "Empty Bowls Project." This national initiative is a grassroots arts movement to address hunger and homelessness in America. In addition to painting, students also worked in the food pantry and cleaned at Southwest Solutions Go-Getters Drop-In Center. (Photo by Christopher Gardner)
After cleaning windows, School of Social Work students Marcella Fox (left) and Joanna Krasinsky take a moment to chat with resident James Seals at the Village of Oakman Manor in Detroit as part of the school's annual Community Service Day. (Photo by Jared Wadley, U-M News Service)
Students and faculty from the School of Social Work and the School of Public Health participated in community service activities throughout Ann Arbor and the surrounding communities.
The School of Social Work sent 160 students to 10 human service agencies and non-profits in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Detroit Aug. 28. They met other incoming students, worked with field agencies that host MSW student as interns, and became more familiar with the communities surrounding the U-M campus.
One student, Amy Song, volunteered at Community Action Network's Bryant Community Center in Ann Arbor.
"I think it's really great that the School of Social Work students are starting their year off putting into practice what we're about. And it's been great making new friends through Community Service Day."
But the students weren't the only ones who enjoyed themselves.
"Every year we look forward to the U of M Social Work students volunteering (and) the students are always willing to do any task with a smile on their face," said Chelsea Brown, an employee for SOS Community Services in Ypsilanti.
The School of Public Health held its annual Practice Plunge, which allowed students to visit five Michigan counties Aug. 29. Organizers say the day of service is a way for students to receive an introduction to the communities in which they will engage in public health activities throughout their U-M careers.
In addition to rolling up their sleeves in service to a community-based organization, SPH students met with local leaders and learned about public health programs in the area and problems facing the region.
"It is important for us to be connected in the community," said Cydni Smith, Health Management and Policy major, Pinckney. "If we're going to be involved in community health issues, we should be comfortable with the resources. The Practice Plunge is a down and dirty way to get introduced to the community in one day."
Andrew Maynard, interim chair and professor of Environmental Health Sciences, director, Risk Science Center, Charles and Rita Gelman Risk Science Professor, agreed.
"The Practice Plunge gives a real flavor of how you apply public health training," said Maynard, who participated in the event for the first time. "Otherwise, there's a danger of it being just a textbook experience. If you're going into public health, it's good to build on that ethos of what you are going to be doing in the community."