Student teams help as part of Ford MU Community Corps

By Kayla Daugherty

For some students, school involvement begins and ends when they walk through the classroom door. This, however, is not the case for a select group of individuals.

Twenty-four Madonna students are going above and beyond for the community this semester as Ford MU Community Corps Members.

These students from several different disciplines such as Education, Sociology, Dietetics, Business, and Communication work in small groups on projects to serve the community.

In February, the Education group took the reins and led the first project. Drabek, and the rest of the Education group has partnered with FirstStep, a domestic violence shelter for women and children in Warren. The Education major was had experience working with FirstStep in the past through the Early Childhood Education Club on campus.

“We held a Valentine’s Day party for the moms and their kids,” said Kristen Drabek. “It was a great time. The kids were really excited and it was good for them to forget about their problems for a while. This has been a wonderful experience, I have learned a lot.”

Sociology also kicked off its project this past month. Working with Earthworks Urban Farm in Detroit, Madonna students have learned not only the importance of where food comes from but how it is distributed. 

Though just in the beginning stages of their project, Sociology students such as junior Nicole Hier have interacted and aided the public by serving food at Capuchin Soup Kitchen.

“I loved it,” said Hier. “After leaving the farm, I knew that I had to learn more about urban farming.”

Learning is one of the goals of the Ford Mu Community Corp program. In addition, students are given the opportunity to boost leadership skills and awareness of service opportunities in the community. Furthermore, students work with faculty in identifying and utilizing the most effective practices in service-learning.

Working with another organization can always be stressful, but the partnership between Madonna and Ford seems to be successful. When Olga Martinez, Director of Service Learning, met with the representatives from Ford, there were only positive things to say.

“I'm happy to report that I met with the Ford Foundation representatives last week and they are very pleased with our program efforts thus far. We are definitely on target to reach our collective goals,” said Martinez.

On April 9, the Communication group will partner with the Madonna Lion’s Club and host a luncheon supporting Sweet Dreamzzz. Sweet Dreamzzz is a non-profit organization that works to educate the public, especially at-risk children about the importance of sleep. Working with the schools, they supply children with sleep kits, which include items kids need to get a good night’s sleep.

At the luncheon in Kresge Hall, a speaker from Sweet Dreamzzz will talk to the public about the work this organization does and how others can help. In addition, those attending the event will receive a complimentary lunch, though there is a suggested $5 donation.

Throughout the past three months, students from the various disciplines have taken an active role in their communities. This summer and fall, Madonna University will partner again with the Ford Community Corp giving other students and faculty a chance to go outside themselves for a good cause.