New this year, the Service Learning Experience class took students’ individualized passions about world issues and encouraged them to work with a local, non-profit partner to create a sustainable program or permanent impact project.
Under the direction of English teacher and Service Coordinator Gabi Merani ‘04, students used the UN’s Goals of Sustainability to narrow down their projects into areas they wanted to focus on and utilized technology programs that allowed for flexibility outside the classroom. The blended-learning format provided a foundation for communication with professionals across the Dallas metroplex and Teacher Service Mentors from Ursuline.
“These girls went above and beyond to service our Dallas community through the year,” said Ms. Merani. “They showed their Serviam spirit learned from the words of St. Angela.”
Dani Cumming ‘21 collaborated with AVANCE North Texas, an organization dedicated to helping under-resourced Latino children and their families integrate into the school system in Dallas.
“I wanted to dive deeper and learn how the organizations that I volunteer at function,” said Dani. “I went beyond the surface-level of volunteering and gained insight into the behind-the-scenes work of the nonprofit sector.”
Her classmate, Sarah Pumphrey ‘20, chose to work with the Children’s Cancer Fund with the goal of helping them build connections through a newsletter template that could be replicated each year
Through this newsletter, the Children’s Cancer Fund would be able to stay in contact with their community, ultimately strengthening their relationship with families, donors, and past models.
“I was drawn to this service project because I've seen firsthand the positive impact this organization has had in the community,” she said. “I’ve seen the amazing things this nonprofit stands for and how much it has positively affected my brother on his journey to being cancer-free.”
Namisha Kaur ‘21 found this class exciting because it allowed her to pursue endeavors that she finds interesting outside of school, while still being in school.
She partnered with her father on her project and under his guidance as a seasoned entrepreneur, worked to create a business plan and an app, called Project Cleanup. A recycling-based initiative, Project Cleanup motivates high schoolers to recycle more.
“This project felt personal as I was able to have it be for high school students and also serve a larger purpose in tackling the ideas of sustainability and our irresponsible consumption,” she said.
Meena Gujjarlapudi ‘21 and Elizabeth Primrose ‘20 collaborated together on their project, supporting Promise of Peace. They found volunteers for events, gathered donations, and improved their website.
“One of my favorite memories was when I got to visit the Promise of Peace garden," said Meena. “I could see the community connection that the garden has.”
She was drawn to Promise of Peace after narrowing down the UN’s sustainable development goals to two that most interested her: zero hunger and life on land, which this organization encompassed.
Josephine Davis ’20 connected with Friends of Stemmons Park and created signage for an area in Dallas that is home to many homeless people, but also about to undergo major construction to become a park.
The goal was to help the homeless community living there find resources.
“Ursuline has grown my heart for service so much,” she said. “I learned a lot about how in need our community actually is and through this class, was able to create a large service project myself.”