By Gillian Mathews
Students at Binghamton University haven’t let a pandemic stop them from working with the surrounding community.
The BUCS program has been implemented in eight upstate New York school districts and is the first county-wide, university-assisted community school model in the nation. The approach aims to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty by increasing access to resources and educational opportunities, which expands the prospect of success for youth. BUCS offers activities and initiatives to improve attendance and increase family engagement with programs that focus on health and social services, enrichment, recreation, and the arts.
Coots works one day a week in person at Floyd Bell Elementary School and one day at Windsor Middle School. During her time there, she works to connect with the families of youth participating in remote learning, which has allowed her to build relationships within the community.
“I run a small group for third-grade girls that are ‘worriers,'” said Coots. “The group helps them build coping skills and identify triggers. I also work with two mentoring students one-on-one. Overall my experience has been very well rounded and I’m getting lots of different levels of social work experience through this field placement.”
Coots and other BUCS interns also worked on collecting registration information for families participating in a program that will provide free holiday meal baskets, letting them enjoy the holidays without the stress of worrying about how they will afford full meals for their families.