Prosperity Project

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In the Spring of 2013, Benedict College President David H. Swinton was contacted by the United States Attorney Bill Nettles for the College’s assistance in supporting the academic efforts of Prosperity Project. Prosperity Project, serves children in the Gonzales Garden and Pinehurst Communities, has a mission to aid in the spiritual and educational development of children living in those communities. This is accomplished by countless volunteers from all different walks of life who focus on developing relationships with the students they serve.
Organized service-learning efforts, spearheaded by the Office of Service-Learning and Leadership Development, resulted in a core group of students who would include Service-Learning and Leadership Development Outreach Program members, Sister Act and Brothers in Unity, along with the award winning Honda Campus All-Star Challenge Team members. Faculty support for the fall would come from Dr. Evelyn Blanche-Payne and students enrolled in her courses.
Students in each of the aforementioned groups were provided with training by Michelle James, Executive Director of Prosperity Project. Ms. James said, “We are so pleased to have students from Benedict College involved in our after-school program. With Benedict being just around the corner, these students can aspire to higher education just by the example set by the college students. We are hopeful that through the interaction with the Benedict students, our students at Prosperity Project will aspire to one day walk the halls of colleges like Benedict.”
Working with Prosperity Project was a reciprocal process, the college volunteers gave time and knowledge to the Prosperity students while the Prosperity students gave the Benedict volunteers a chance to apply their knowledge and skills. This is what we consider a true service-learning project and creating a power for good, not only on the BC campus, but within our surrounding communities. “Prosperity Project has been a pleasant service experience,” sentiments of George Howell, Computer Engineering major, and active member of Brothers in Unity felt about BC’s involvement with Prosperity Project.
Service-Learning and Leadership Development former intern D’lila Williams maintained a consistent presence since Benedict College’s participation started in September 2013 until her graduation in December 2013. “Like us all, whether we are from the same background or not, the children of Prosperity Project have an eagerness to learn and prosper. It’s great that we are able to feed into the goals and growth of the children at Prosperity Project.”
Service-Learning and Leadership Development’s AmeriCorps VISTA member Ziera Godbolt currently serves as the college’s lead contact for Prosperity Project. Through Ms. Godbolt’s leadership, college students from Dr. Linda Oakleaf’s recreation classes has implemented Youth Voice: Youth Choice at Prosperity since February 2014. Those college students from Dr. Linda Oakleaf’s class attended Prosperity Project on Mondays and Thursdays for an hour to teach the young children how to eat healthier meals and the importance of exercising daily. Students from Dr. Gwenda Greene’s English Literature class closed out the Spring 2014 semester with a literacy project designed especially for the children of Prosperity Project. Also in her recruiting efforts, Ziera had two volunteers and a community based work-study student who attended regularly. Benedict College has made it clear time and time again that they mold their students with a purpose. Assignments like Prosperity Project confirm the College’s motto, “to be powers for good.” The Benedict College Service-Learning and Leadership Development Program provided Prosperity Project with a donation of books and school supplies worth over $1,000. Benedict College looks forward to another exciting year at the site.
“I have learned the importance of consistency and accountability when working with the youth at Prosperity Project.” -Ziera Godbolt

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LiCS Volunteer Celebration

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On April 8, 2014, members of the Yes We C.A.R.E. (Constituents Aligned to Respond Effectively) initiative were invited to take part in the Lexington Interfaith Community Services (LiCS) Volunteer Celebration for their volunteerism throughout the past year.    The celebration was an evening full of food, fun and friends.  Awards were given out to the individual volunteers and organizations with the most volunteer hours.  There were also drawings and activities throughout the evening.   In attendance were De’Anna Holmes (Student Coordinator), Lyne Bates (Student Coordinator), Keith Booker (Student Coordinator) and Ms. Boudre Thomas (Program Assistant).

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Leadership Benedict

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On Saturday, March 27th at 7:30 a.m., 16 Benedict College students and 5 staff boarded a military bus and departed for Fort Jackson Army Installation, Columbia, South Carolina. The purpose of the activity was to engage students and staff in real-life army leadership training methodologies that provide transferable skills for everyday life. After a briefing by the Company Commander followed by a safety overview from the Range Personnel, students and staff were divided into competing teams. The teams participated in and competed against each other in combat first aid training, a physically demanding obstacle course and a gun simulation. Participants were challenged physically and mentally. For lunch, participants ate standard military issued MREs (meals ready to eat). At the end of the day, participants reflected on the experience. Most students stated that they enjoyed the experience and would love to do it again. Leadership Benedict is a collaboration between the Benedict College Service-Learning and Leadership Development Program and the Fort Jackson Army Base. 

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SLLD Practicum Student Spring 2014

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Hello! My name is Michelle and I am currently serving as a practicum student in the Office of Service-Learning and Leadership Development. I will be spending the next five weeks learning about SLLD and Benedict College, assisting with the office in anyway I can, and gaining professional development skills.

A little about me: I received an Individualized Bachelor’s of Arts in Environmental Sociology from Otterbein University (near Columbus, Ohio) in May of 2013. I am currently a first year student in the Higher Education and Student Affairs Masters of Education Program at the University of South Carolina. There, I serve as the Graduate Assistant for the EcoReps Program – a group of student leaders who engage in peer-to-peer education to inform the USC community about environmental issues and initiatives. I will graduate in May of 2015, and am looking forward to starting my career as a Student Affairs Practitioner.

My first week at Benedict was spent getting acquainted with the ins and outs of the SLLD Office, and I had the opportunity to participate in the Founders Day Convocation. It was great to get to learn a little about the history of Benedict, and to hear from current faculty, staff, students, as well as alumni. Their stories expressed the value of their Benedict education, and spoke to the long-lasting memories that alumni made during their time here.

I look forward to spending the next five weeks with the Benedict community! ​

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