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MCC Cares Continues Building Service Learning Success

Summer 2008 | Archives

Service learning (noun): A teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enhance learning experiences, teach civic responsibility and provide opportunities for community connections.

Service-Learning students Since MCC began offering a formal service learning program three years ago, students and faculty have been putting their noses to the grindstone to improve the community. The MCC Cares Home Repair class is an annual facet of the College´s service learning efforts, and in three years, the class has changed the lives of residents of MCC´s four-county service area.

Led by industrial and commercial trades instructor Dave Horst, the group uses home repair skills to adapt and remodel homes for clients of the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging (ENOA). Clients submit their repair requests to the ENOA´s handyman list, from which Horst selects projects that the class can accomplish given the complexity, timeframe and material needed. He tries to help with as many projects as possible while maintaining the quality of the work and the experience.

This spring, MCC Cares was able to support a series of community service projects thanks to the SkillsUSA Lowe´s Community Service Grant from Lowe´s Companies.

"The home repair class is a recognized opportunity for MCC´s trade students and SkillsUSA members to use their construction skills in real-world situations that benefit people in need," Horst said.

Service-Learning students "I participated in service learning because it gave me a good reason to give back to the community," said MCC student Tyler Jansen. "It really made me feel good knowing that I was helping people stay in their homes."

A May 21 luncheon celebrated the accomplishments of the students, faculty and partners of MCC Cares this spring. The group completed projects in five area homes, including replacing bathroom and kitchen floors, building handicapped ramps, building a deck and a complete electrical change-out. Dozens of students and faculty volunteered more than 325 hours to complete these life-changing projects that saved the homeowners about $10,000.

"It feels good to help people that need help, especially older ones, because somebody does the same thing for my parents halfway around the planet," said Samir Karajic, an international MCC student. "Since I cannot do it for them, I can do it for people here."

To get involved in the community through MCC Cares, visit www.mccneb.edu/servicelearning.

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