Making it Happen: Bridging gaps between useful community resources


Winter Term provides opportunities for students to participate in unique courses not offered during the semesters. This year, that includes a course about how to connect resources and make a difference in the community.
Professor Beth Benedix, associate professor of religious studies and coordinator of the Jewish Studies program, along with Matt Cummings, coordinator of Community Service for the Hubbard Center for Student Engagement, instructed a Winter Term that is modeled after the senior capstone course in the Management Fellows program.
‘Making it Happen: Implementing Change’ offers a combination of theory and concrete practices that will encourage students to identify, develop and implement ideas within a community. Students will be applying what they learn over Winter Term in Putnam County and the DePauw community.
‘Making it Happen’ is project-based and students are expected to complete projects by the end of Winter Term. On January 8, the class met with Patti Harmless, director of the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program, and were introduced to the project that they will be working on.Students will form a directory for multiple organizations within Putnam County and the DePauw community.
The class is separated into six different groups. Each group will focus on one of the six categories: youth and family; education and education outreach; poverty; social justice; public health; and organizations within DePauw.
The group assigned to organizations within DePauw will assess all of the DePauw services related to the five other categories being evaluated. The other groups will sort the list of community organizations given to them into one of the five former categories.
“[Patti] Harmless came up with the project of the directory because she wanted to identify gaps in the community and help build a relationship between these services,” said Benedix.
The class is expected to develop a template for each of the organizations that include its contact information, location, mission statement, who it benefits in the community and the cost of the service.
On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, each group will applied what they learned in the course thus far and give back to the community through service work.