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7 posts from December 2013


Fall 2013 Photo Essays

This semester, our students completed the statement, "Service-Learning is..." through a series of photographs. They were asked to base their photo essays in their communities, demonstrating what service-learning means to them within the context of their work with their respective organizations. The results exemplify the connections students have made with community members along with the range of challenges and assets to community development they have discovered throughout the process.

The Best Way to Get to Know a Community

Eve Hansen

University of Washington

Community Service is the best way to get to know a community.  At Acción Callejera the youth and adolescents in risk go to the center and spend time in the classroom, participate in recreational activities and eat breakfast and lunch.  During my internship at  Acción Callejera (AC), I have seen different sides of the boys that attend the center in Santiago and the boys of AC’s baseball league in the neighborhood, Hato del Yaque.  The majority of the time they are happy and laughing however, there are times in which I have seen a hard side of them.  Each day there are arguments about which plate of food they get because they all are hungry and want the biggest plate with the most rice and beans.  Arguments and fights seem to erupt out of thin air.  These emotions are a reflexion of their difficult lives; however, each day I am surprised by their positive attitudes.  The sports activities are spaces where they can release their anger and energy and even though it appears that they resist the discipline at Acción Callejera, I believe that they appreciate the structure.  The youth that come to the center and those that participate in the baseball league are very special and have a passion for life despite their difficult situations and these photos show the different faces of the boys of Acción Callejera. 

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Caring for Future Generations

Kenny Strauss

University of Missouri

For my time here in the Dominican Republic, I have always been focused on promoting health in the community.  I have noticed that most of the health promotion is focused on this generation and not on future generations.  It is hard to come into a place that a person knows nothing about and make an immediate difference. But I have been given the great opportunity to work directly in a community with health promoters who work directly with the people.  This photo essay is focused on the creation of a walking club I am working to start, in collaboration with the health promotors, in the community of Pekín Abajo.

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Involving the Entire Community

Jasmine Eshkar

Oberlin College

Service Learning is a process that involves an entire community. This past semester I worked with a group of artisans in Santiago called Arte a Mano. In order to help the group, I first had to understand the challenges they faced. To understand the challenges they faced, I had to spend time with each member of the group and win their confidence. When I had ideas and wanted to offer suggestions for the future of the group, I learned that I needed the support of people with social influence in order to have an effect in my community. I learned that using time to get to know new people, their families, and their friends, although it initially didn’t seem productive from a task-oriented point of view, really was worth it in the end.

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The Importance of Support

Kate Shafer

Elon University

The subjects of this photo essay are members of the community of the Association of Mothers of Disabled Children (MANIDI).  MANIDI is a non-profit organization that works to rehabilitate and educate disabled youth and their parents.  Therefore, all of the people in this essay are parents, relatives, coordinators, directors, members of the board of directors, students and even past employees of MANIDI.  The theme of this essay is the interconnectedness of the MANIDI community members in the context of support.  All of the community members work together to improve the environment, financial situation and entire organization of MANIDI.  The following photos exemplify the comprehension of community support that a service-learning student receives.  In this case, the interconnectedness and support system that exists in the MANIDI community is something that I have encountered throughout my experience with the organization this semester.  This strong, caring and supportive community has been a friend, mentor and learning experience for me this fall and, therefore, is the inspiration for this photo essay.

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Creativity and Self-Expression

Darla Wynn

George Washington University

All of the children in these photos are students of the Arturo Jiménes Community School in Gurabo, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic. They range from kindergarteners to third graders. The photos were taken in the third and kindergarten classrooms and the recess yard. The theme of this selection of photos is moments of expression and release. I have captured photos of children in moments of expressing themselves through art and sharing pieces they have written as well as kids releasing their energy during recess. It has been awesome seeing the moments in which the students seem to enjoy themselves the most. The school and the organization to which it belongs, Oné Respe, provide a safe place for children to express and enjoy themselves amidst their learning. These pictures and my experience at the school remind me that service for others is often as simple as providing opportunities for people to do what they need and deserve. In this case, the children need and deserve a safe place to enjoy being children. It is wonderful that Oné Respe and the teachers provide this for the students. Enjoy the photos!

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Community Communication

April Hooper

Clark University

“Community service is…” brought to my mind many potential answers. How could I embody the service that I have observed and participated within Barrio Lindo and Barrio Obrero in Santiago de los Caballeros for the last three months when I had seen so much? I considered the passion I had seen, the investment, and the challenges, but finally singled out the ability that I perceive as the most important in these communities: communication. With my piece I attempted to capture the various mediums and strategies of my team of health promoters through my camera as my eyes. The photographs I took made an effort to be taken naturally (without posing) in order to create the true atmosphere of communication. I hope you enjoy “Community communication” by April Hooper.

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