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Service Learning Teaches Compassion, Acceptance, and Commitment

Morristown, N.J. (December 15, 2015) – Service learning is considered an essential part of the CSE experience, allowing students to reach beyond themselves and their busy lives to learn about the effects of lending their skills and service through volunteerism.

Nicole Yanoso, Ph.D., assistant professor of history, decided to make her fall 2015 CSE400 Essentials Capstone (Honors) into one that the students would never forget. This class for seniors is a culmination of their service learning at CSE and a portfolio of their personal and spiritual growth.

After meeting representatives from Drew and Fairleigh Dickinson (FDU) Universities over the summer, Yanoso paired her service goals with her counterparts and together they collaborated with their students to work with the AIDS Resource Foundation for Children in Newark, N.J., using several events throughout the semester.

The AIDS Resource Foundation for Children helps those infected or affected by HIV/AIDS through after-school programs, housing, emergency financial assistance and health care, and mental health programs.

The classroom lessons were about the effects of HIV/AIDS on individuals, families, societies, American politics and the economics of the epidemic. The lessons learned were not just about the statistics concerning HIV/AIDS. The service learning showed the students the faces behind the epidemic.

CSE students met children who are infected or who live with family members who are infected and learned about the effects of living with the disease on family units.

"My 19 students learned that these kids are, in reality, just like any other kids," Yanoso explains.

They also learned that even with very busy lives, they always had time to fit in a service event or project.

"These young ladies are all seniors, they are honors students and are involved in many clubs and campus events," says Yanoso. "This class showed them just how much they could give to others in spite of their schedules and heavy work load. Everyone can fit in service."

Yanoso's students held clothing drives, collected school supplies, made and donated Halloween costumes, hosted children for the CSE Athletics' Annual Trunk or Treat party, participated in HIV/AIDS awareness event at FDU, volunteered at the Foundation's Halloween Party, participated in a multi-organization toy drive at Drew University and ran a successful toy drive at CSE – donating over 100 toys to the Foundation.

Yanoso also noted that her students learned a great deal about leadership and collaboration.

"They did not just have to be leaders on campus," she explains. "They had to collaborate with leaders from two other campuses to create successful events to benefit the Foundation. And they learned to use all their resources, rather than create more work for themselves."

The leadership lessons were in planning, organizing, and managing the events, including getting the word out to the campus.

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Founded in 1899 by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, the College of Saint Elizabeth has a strong tradition of concern for the poor, for developing leadership in a spirit of service and social responsibility, and a commitment to the promotion of women as full partners in society.

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