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Today's Homework: Give a Voice to the Homeless

Spring 2008 | Archives

Twenty-two profiles of Care Corps clients. Twenty-two separate profiles of homeless people. Twenty-two students whose eyes were opened to a need and a cause in Fremont. A cause that affects more than Fremont. Omaha. Nebraska. The United States. The community.

This winter quarter, Melissa Tayles gave her Composition I class an assignment involving interviewing and writing skills that are common in composition classes. But her assignment had a twist. The students were to meet a client from Care Corps, an organization aiding the homeless in Fremont, interview them and write a profile of the individual.

"My hope is that this assignment will allow the students to have a stronger sense of readership/audience in addition to a stronger sense of purpose and perspective," Tayles said. "In addition, this service learning project will allow the students to become familiar with an agency in the community and a population that is often overlooked or misunderstood."

Tayles incorporated the assignment into the class unit Profiling a Person Connected to a Place. The students were encouraged to visit the center prior to the interview to learn about the organization and the population.

"It really benefits our students because it creates awareness of a need in Fremont and from this, our students might get more involved," Fremont Area Center director Todd Hansen said.

The class returned to Care Corps to share their profiles, and Tayles said the project allowed the clients to have a voice.

"The clients will discover that by speaking with MCC´s students they have dispelled many of the stereotypes and labels that the public has about the homeless," Tayles said. "Many of the clients felt that by talking to the students they were able to share their story in a new way; the clients instantly recognized the education they were able to offer to MCC´s students."

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