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LWC named to Higher Ed Community Service Honor Roll


In the area of general community service, Lindsey Wilson was named to the honor roll with distinction, the only Kentucky college or university to receive that designation.

By Duane Bonifer

Lindsey Wilson College's service - learning efforts have earned national recognition- -LWC has been named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The award is given by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that encourages community service at U.S. colleges and universities.

In the area of general community service, Lindsey Wilson was named to the honor roll with distinction, the only Kentucky college or university to receive that designation. LWC was one of two Kentucky schools to receive a distinction designation in the honor roll's four categories.

Launched in 2006, the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll annually highlights the role colleges and universities play in solving community problems. Institutions are recognized for achievements in general community service, interfaith community service, economic opportunity and education.

LWC was recognized in large part because of the work of its Bonner Scholars Program, which has dozens of service-learning initiatives throughout Southcentral Kentucky. The college's Malvina Farkle Day -- an annual day of college-wide community service by LWC faculty, staff and students -- also earned recognition.

During the 2013-14 school year, LWC students, faculty and staff combined to give more than 32,000 hours of community service, according to LWC Director of Civic Engagement Amy Thompson-Wells.

"We are the first phone call that people make in the community when they want volunteers at their organization," Thompson-Wells said. "Many organizations could not function without the help they receive from Lindsey Wilson students, and we are thankful for the opportunity to help make a difference in our region."

The flagship of LWC's service-learning efforts is the Bonner Scholars Program, a group of 68 students who commit to at least 10 hours of community service a week during the school year. Since its inception on campus in 2005, Thompson-Wells said the Bonner Scholars Program has helped LWC deploy service-learning more strategically.

"We've gone from random acts of kindness to strategic change and social justice," she said. "We're a sustainable partner, and community groups can count on us every year to provide quality volunteers to help with the capacity-building within their organization."

One of those programs is Camp Casey, an after-school program in Adair County public schools and sponsored by the 21st Century Program. The daily two-hour program targets preschool through second-grade students, nearly 70 percent of whom qualify for a free or reduced lunch.

A total of 219 LWC students worked with 438 Adair County students in 2013-14. The LWC volunteers saved Adair County more than $47,000 annually, Thompson-Wells said.

"Not only does this program help the school children increase their reading and math scores, but the mentoring and tutoring they receive from Lindsey Wilson volunteers helps instill confidence and a higher self-esteem in them and helps them believe anything is possible," she said.

In fact, LWC students' involvement with Camp Casey even attracted the attention of the Kentucky Department of Education.

"Last year, employees at Kentucky Department of Education called me to verify the number of volunteers I had reported because they thought the number was exceptional," Thompson-Wells said.

In addition to changing the region, Thompson-Wells said service-learning also changes LWC students' lives.

"We give students real-world experience by allowing them to serve in the community," she said. "Many of our students come into college thinking they know what they want to do with their lives, but many will wind up changing their major because of the service they provide. It's really life-changing for many students as well."


This story was posted on 2015-01-09 15:22:55
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Bonner Scholars Get National Recognition



2015-01-09 - Columbia, KY - Photo by Duane Bonifer. The 68-student Bonner Scholars Program is the flagship of Lindsey Wilson College's service-learning efforts, which recently earned a national honor from the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.
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