Group discussion course learns through service learning

A group of students are learning to apply the skills they learn in the classroom to real-world situations by volunteering at H.O.P.E. Farm, Inc.  

Carie Kapellusch, lecturer in communication studies, said she has been teaching her group discussion course through service learning at H.O.P.E. Farm for the past three semesters and has had positive reactions from a majority of her students.   

H.O.P.E. Farm is an after-school program that provides at-risk boys a chance to learn through Bible studies and develop important life skills, Kapellusch said.

Senior English and entrepreneurial management major Trevor Piccione said volunteering at H.O.P.E. Farm helped him apply the skills he has been learning in class to the real world.

Students take turns volunteering throughout the semester, Kapellusch said. Students tutor, play and act as mentors to the boys.

“It shows the value of what we are learning in the classroom- to find someone you may not think you would have very much in common with, but by using some of the things we learn in class we are able to develop successful and mutually beneficial relationships,” Piccione said.

Senior communication studies major Kayla Harms said she enjoyed volunteering and plans to keep going back when the course is over.

“I think it is really important and it is something I want to continue- if not here, then somewhere else, because it makes me feel good and like I am making a difference,” Harms said.

Senior strategic communication major Paul Adams said he thinks service learning is important because you get to help people in need.

“I feel uplifted and that I have done something worthwhile to help the community and help children,” Adams said.

Students are required to volunteer six hours per semester, with many students exceeding that amount, Kapellusch said.