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Four honored for community service

by UofL Today last modified Oct 21, 2011 03:41 PM

“Community service is in our DNA.” That is what University of Louisville President James Ramsey affirmed at the presentation of the UofL Community Engagement Awards Oct. 20.

The Office of Community Engagement presents the awards to recognize a student, staff member, faculty member and community organization for their community service.

In the last academic year alone, 12,355 UofL students provided more than 270,000 hours of service to the community, Ramsey noted. And UofL – through its units, faculty and staff – works with community partners in a number of ways.

“UofL’s engagement touches all of us in every aspect of life, from educating our children, health needs of young and old, economic development and jobs, culture and the arts, as well as social justice issues.

“The work of our honorees demonstrates that strong university/community partnerships can truly make a difference in our community,” he said.

The Community Engagement Award recipients are the Louisville IDEALS student group; Diane Whitlock, assistant to the vice provost for diversity and international affairs; Brian Barnes, lecturer, philosophy department; and Best Buddies Kentucky.

Here are their profiles.

Louisville IDEALS, College of Education & Human Development Department of Health & Sport Sciences

Louisville IDEALS started as a small, independent study program and has grown to include more than 60 students. Participants partner with local organizations, such as Adelante Hispanic Achievers, Boys’ Haven, Americana Community Center and Metro Parks Adapted Leisure, to work with homeless, immigrant and at-risk youth.

Each Louisville IDEALS participant volunteers four to five hours a week at the organizations. They evaluate programming and create a curriculum that integrates sport, culture and art into the organizational structure. Their goal is to instill in the programming the Olympism principles and the six Muhammad Ali core values.

The students also had a festival in spring 2011 to introduce Louisville IDEALS to the community and local and international policy makers to the group and its goal of making Louisville, the birthplace of Muhammad Ali, the origin of more human-oriented sport programs.

Diane Whitlock, assistant to the vice provost for diversity and international affairs

Diane Whitlock has worked at UofL for more than 30 years. Although active in many campus and community organizations, she received this Community Engagement Award for the work she has done with the Children’s Program at The Healing Place.

Whitlock has been passionate about The Healing Place since she toured the women’s facility in 2007. Then at 1607 W. Broadway, the organization was preparing for a move to a new facility at 15th and Hill streets. Seeing the strength and courage of the women battling their addictions and – through faith – their determination to return to their families sober, stronger and better had a profound impact on her. Since that time she has tirelessly supported the center, encouraging UofL students, faculty, and staff, her church members and families to give of their time, talent and money to support the organization’s work.

Brian Barnes, lecturer, philosophy department

Beginning in 2009, Brian Barnes led the effort to build a food waste composting facility at UofL. Since it started operation in July 2010, UofL has diverted more than 33,000 pounds of pre-consumer food waste and coffee grounds from landfills into the production of rich, fertile soil that enhances not only the university’s Garden Commons, but many other landscape projects around campus.

Barnes also has started similar programs at Bellarmine University, Americana Community Center and The Chance School. Some of these groups also are developing organic, sustainable gardens to use the rich soil they create from the composting process so they can provide healthy foods to the communities they serve.

Barnes uses the composting sites as teaching tools for his business ethics students. On tours of the sites, he emphasizes sustainability and healthy foods, and teaches them how to build composting systems, connect with community organizations and challenge existing paradigms as they relate to food as a social justice issue. He also takes students to Louisville’s “food deserts” so they can see firsthand the lack of healthy food availability that exists in many urban markets. At the same time, he teaches them about sustainable systems and the efforts of the community organizations he works to address this critical need.

Best Buddies Kentucky

Best Buddies Kentucky (BBKY) is dedicated to providing social inclusion opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), such as autism or Down syndrome.  Through a partnership with UofL since 2009, BBKY matches college students in one-to-one friendships with adults with IDD.  During the 2010-11 school year, the UofL Best Buddies Chapter had 29 matched friendships and 75 program participants. All the “buddies” get together as a chapter for such group activities as bowling, dances and UofL sport outings.

UofL students also have the opportunity to get involved in advocacy campaigns and they learn firsthand about the challenges people with IDD face.

Best Buddies also provide leadership training to the UofL students.

Overall, the BBKY/UofL partnership allows students to gain experience in civic engagement through direct service and to make a difference in the personal lives of adults with IDD.

Honorees in the faculty, staff and student categories each received an engraved crystal award and $2,500. They also were asked to designate a community partner with whom they’ve worked to receive a match award of $2,500.

Barnes designated EDGE Outreach as his matching award recipients. Whitlock chose The Children’s Program at The Healing Place and IDEALS picked Adelante Hispanic Achievers. Best Buddies Kentucky also received an engraved crystal award and $5,000.

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