20 Ways Messiah College is making the world a better place (continued)
Andrea Bean ’99, nursing
Executive director, Morning Star Pregnancy Services, Greater Harrisburg
Morning Star offers pregnant women positive alternatives to abortion by trying to provide “directly for their needs,” says executive director Andrea Bean. “It’s important,” she explains, “that as we work to preserve the lives of the unborn, we also treat their mothers with the utmost respect.” Ninety percent of Morning Star clients choose to go full term, but “we also provide post-abortion counseling,” she explains. “We tell them, ‘whatever decision you make, we’re here for you.’ And women do come back.”
Department of Theatre, Messiah College
Theatre for Social Change “helps people tell stories from their communities,” giving these stories artistic expression on the stage, explains theatre department chair Valerie Smith. The venue does not require professional acting experience, just life experience and post-performance input from audiences. Bringing her life experience to the subject, Smith is currently writing a documentary-style play about Alzheimer’s disease that presents the illness as it is experienced by patients, families, and caregivers in Pennsylvania.
The Center for Public Humanities, School of the Humanities, Messiah College
Messiah’s humanities faculty members regularly teach free college-level classes to educationally disadvantaged adults in Perry County. Known as the Hoverter Course, the program includes classes in writing, history, civics, and critical thinking to help bridge educational gaps and prepare participants to enter college.
Harrisburg Housing, Residential Life, Messiah College
Messiah students who live in Harrisburg Housing employ a shared vision: to be invested in city life as neighbors and volunteers and to encourage each other to shape their own perspectives on what it means to be a Christian neighbor.
Participants fulfill course requirements while they also explore urban living and volunteer in community service programs, such as sustainable community agriculture and service to homeless people. But regardless of the palatable impact Messiah makes in the city, according to the program’s director of community life, Craig Dalen, students involved in the program often see the biggest changes in themselves.
Ben Lamb, a junior studying theology and social theory, says his work at the Paxton Ministries home has increased his understanding of mental illness, “mainly in terms of how medical labels can segregate people from each other.” Early c hildhood education major Jess West, who walks to Lincoln Elementary School for her junior field placement, believes her everyday, real-life experiences in an urban neighborhood prepare her for life after college. And Kristine Harvey, a 2007 English graduate who student-taught at Harrisburg’s SciTech High, values her experience in the city, saying, “I feel that I am learning much more than I am teaching.”
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