Back in November, Gabriella Jones went shopping for perfume and haircare products, but she wasn’t buying anything for herself. She and other students taking Professor Renee Adamany’s Sociology 127: Interpersonal and Group Dynamics course at Schenectady County Community College were buying things to include in goodie bags they’re putting together for the girls who participate in the afterschool program at Girls Inc. in Schenectady.
Jones, a Human Services major and the group’s leader, knows the impact the goodie bags can have.
“I remember when I was younger and we went on a field trip and they had special bags for us,” she said. “I was so excited to get one. I know this is something they won’t forget.”
Her group, which also included Frances Rivera, a Human Services major; Eddie Obeng, a Liberal Arts: Communications major; and Markai Bland, a Liberal Arts: Psychology major, collected bottles and cans throughout the fall and used the money to purchase the items for the gift bags. They contacted the agency, talked to the director, arranged for the service learning project and then developed a plan and timeline that Professor Adamany reviewed.
The main goal of the project was learning how to communicate with other students in the group and with directors of the local agencies and schools their projects were benefitting. Jones explained the dramatic shift in her communication style that has already happened just during the fall semester, her first at the College.
“Before I took this class, it was hard for me to give people eye contact and I got nervous and would stutter,” she said. “But we learn verbal and nonverbal communication techniques, and I can talk to a wide variety of people now without getting nervous.”
Professor Adamany has taught Sociology 127 for the past 17 years and service learning has always been a part of it.
“They learn how to work in a team, develop their leadership skills, and they are learning how to operate professionally,” she explained.
In addition to Girls Inc., students are also completing Service Learning projects for a number of other non-profits and charities in and around the Capital Region.