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Acting Director of Service Learning
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711
toll-free: (800) 456-9009
local: (727) 864-7512
Autumn & Fall Term 2009
The 2009 school term started off with a bang as a record number of 405 volunteers came out for our 10th annual Into the Streets. With 26 sites including Alpha House, Enoch Davis Center, Boyd Hill, St. Pete Free Clinic, and Creative Clay there was something for everyone! Afterwards volunteers had a delicious dinner and shared their experiences at the different organizations.
Later on in August we had our 1st annual Sustainable St. Pete trip which was a great hit! We explored the greener side of St. Petersburg by going to Boyd Hill and learning about the preserve, Rollin' Oats- a nature food store, the Edible Schoolyard at Lakewood Elementary School, and Bartlett Park-the community garden. We found there are a lot of ways to be green and environmentally friendly throughout St. Pete and everyone who joined us had a great time.
We also had our 4th annual Explore St. Pete trip where we examined the disparity between Eckerd College and the South Side of St. Pete. We drove through the neighborhoods to William's Park where we listened to a homeless activist talk about the social inequalities St. Pete faces. We then ate lunch at Atwater's Cafeteria, a delicious soul food restaurant where the owner himself served us food, and ended our afternoon at the home of a local anti-violence advocate who lost her son to street fighting. The students really enjoyed learning more about the new community around them and seeing ways that they too can be apart of it.
We kicked the first weekend of the official school year off with a service trip to S.M.A.R.T (Sarasota Manatee Association of Riding Therapy) where we pulled weeds, mowed the lawn, cleaned riding equipment, organized tack rooms, washed and waxed the vehicles, and even had time to meet the horses. S.M.A.R.T appreciated our help and said that we really helped revamp the place to get ready for their upcoming year.
Mid-September we had an environmental kayaking trip to Indian Key across the water from our South Beach. Kayakers went around the key and through the mangroves, exploring the natural environment while protecting the fish and birds by picking up trash and waste the tide has brought in. It was a fun bonding experience and a great way to be active.
Eckerd students volunteered with the Florida Center for Survivors of Torture an afternoon this September. Volunteers worked with recent Cuban refugee high school students at Dixie Hollins High School to prepare them for the FCAT and tutored students on their other homework. Eckerd students found the high schoolers to be bright and willing to work hard to get ahead with their studies.
In November the Office of Service Learning held a three day celebration of Zakat, the 5th Pillar of Islam, the element of service and giving in the Islamic culture. On Day One, The Imam of the Islamic Society of Tampa Bay came to Eckerd for an outdoor social justice dinner where delicious Middle Eastern food was service and a discussion was had dispelling many myths of the Islamic culture. Day Two involved raising money for the International Zakat Foundation who send aid and service to developing countries around the world. Day Three involved actually doing service at the Islamic Society of Tampa Bay, where students got to see what a mosque looks like and do hands on service too.
In December students participated in Social Justice Dinner discussion diversity. A member from Community Tampa Bay, an organization that promotes dialogue and respect among all cultures, religions and races through education, advocacy and conflict mediation, came to facilitate the discussion, along with a couple of hands on activities.