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Department of Social Work

Service Learning Stories


Student Stories

Amanda Nissley: I have enjoyed and appreciated my time of service learning. Not only have I been able to learn more about social work, but I have been able to serve the community. During my first year of college I volunteered at Paxton Ministries, which is a home for adults with mental handicaps. I enjoyed getting to know the residents and playing games with them. I also tutored at Center for Champions, an after school program in Harrisburg. It was a great opportunity to interact with children of various ages and to get to know them. Service learning has been a great way to learn more and to give back to the community.


Beverly Bormann: Both my sophomore placement and my service learning experiences have helped me to grow more confident with the population I would like to work with. My first service learning experience was at Abba's Place, a youth group for children in Harrisburg. Helping to lead this group gave me the chance to learn to listen to the needs of those who I was working with. During my sophomore placement I worked with the Carlisle YWCA in an after school program helping children to develop good homework habits. This placement gave me the opportunity to help children with their specific needs, and be an encouraging person in their lives. Both these experiences have helped me to prepare for my career in social work.


Ashley Anderson: My field experiences have been linked primarily with New Hope Ministries and their after-school youth program (Mechanicsburg location). The children have touched my heart in ways I cannot explain. Learning about their struggles in life by the age of ten are heart wrenching however; as a result, they've developed such resiliency and strength. This kind of strength cannot be captured by any ordinary individual. The potential that lies within these children is masked by their highly evolved defense mechanisms, due to surviving negative circumstances. It's important to realize, as social workers, to go beyond what we see but understand and feel their pain and passion for another and better life.


Kelsie Boyd: During my sophomore year, I had the privilege of serving in two different field placements: Capital Area Pregnancy Center and New Hope Ministries in Dillsburg. While serving at the Pregnancy Center, I was given the opportunity to examine my own personal beliefs regarding the sanctity of life. Though I didn't know it at the time, This experience helped me to understand my own views, and without it, I probably would not know where I stand now. It was important for me to be able to examine my own beliefs to gain self awareness. When I then began serving at New Hope Ministries, I was able to form and build relationships with several young teenagers who were experiencing difficult times in their lives. We formed deeper relationships by talking and playing games together each time I visited them. A fellow student and I were then able to plan a lock-in sleepover with the girls in the program, and I will never forget the good times we shared when we were able to walk alongside them in their hard times. I have never since doubted that I want to spend the rest of my life doing just that.


Laura Lea Peschka: My sophomore placement was at New Hope's after school program for children. This was a great place to work on social work skills such as building relationships, empowering, leadership and serving. Every child has a different story and it's exciting to get to know them. It's encouraging to see the difference you can make in a child's life just by showing them you care. Along with my internship, I fulfilled volunteer hours at a nursing home called Bethany Village. Here we focused on building relationships and encouraging the residents. This time spent together really showed me the joy that a caring relationship can bring to others.


Senior Field Placement Abroad in Thailand
Thailand is about a 26 hours in flight with layovers. As a senior, completing 450 hours of field placement, this experience will be unique. We have the opportunity of living in a condominium (right outside of Chiang Mai University), meal plans are already set up, and transportation is provided; to and from your internship. Other Messiah alum also live in the condominium to provide additional support, because this is an independent lifestyle which will become challenging. Private Thai tutoring is offered every week because it is prepares us for the field placement. Our senior seminar class will be conducted once a week, over a podcast. Internship opportunities include working in a school, an orphanage, church, juvenile delinquent center, or working with the mentally disabled. All are equally rewarding but It's important to determine what best fits you. Aside from working five days a week from 8:00 to 5:00, is the privilege to participate in field trips with other students who are taking courses at CMU. These field trips and other special experiences include spring break, living at different villages, getting a Thai massage, and best of all, riding elephants!! :) This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, something that will transform your life, and I highly recommend every senior to consider Thailand. To learn more, please visit the Amazing Thailand Website! .



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