This is Vassar: The newsletter for Vassar College Alumnae/i and Families

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Summer Social Justice Work

The Vassar Summer Community Fellows program is an opportunity for students to explore careers in human services, working with nonprofit organizations in the Poughkeepsie area. “The program lets the students who excelled in field work during the year have a full summer experience,” says Director of Field Work Peter Leonard. Students work 40 hours a week for 10 weeks over the summer, and attend bi-weekly lunch seminars to discuss their work with other students in the program. “A student finishes the summer not only knowing about the agency they worked in but the whole human resources network in Poughkeepsie,” says Leonard.

Another important aspect of the program is its emphasis on the “relationship between what we learn at college and what we do in the community,” added Leonard. To this end, the program has maintained a more academic atmosphere than one would find in most volunteer organizations. In addition to the seminars, students are required to send out email reports every week.

This summer, 20 students worked in 17 different human service agencies. Among them was the Children’s Media Project, where students worked with local kids to make “DROP-TV,” a show made for kids by kids, which airs in the tri-state area and New Zealand. Other agencies included Battered Women’s Services, the Dutchess County Health Department, and New Horizons Resources, where a student worked on a farm with adults who have developmental disabilities.

September 2008

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