Centenary expands student service opportunities with new community partners

Centenary students help stain a fence at the Volunteers of America's South Pointe Place Apartments during Orientation Service Day on August 4, 2018.

SHREVEPORT, LA — Centenary’s Trek program, a central component of the College’s liberal arts curriculum, guides students to develop the real world knowledge and skills required of leaders in the 21st century. Centenary is adding six new community partners this year to help students fulfill Trek’s “Community” component, an academic course focused on helping students explore the role that they, as citizens, play in maintaining and improving the communities in which they live and work.

New community partners for the 2018-2019 academic year include the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission, Volunteers for Youth Justice, Starbase Louisiana 2.0, Volunteers of America of North Louisiana, Project Celebration, Inc., and Magnolia Manor Nursing and Rehab Facility. Centenary students will be able to volunteer with the Volunteers of America during College-wide service days and will be eligible to complete internships for Trek Community credit (known as CO credit) with all of the new community partners.

“The addition of new community partners at Centenary allows our students greater exposure to non-profits which are performing tremendous work in the areas of education, homelessness, domestic violence, juvenile justice, and more,” says Kaylan Walker, director of community engagement at Centenary. “These partnerships also provide additional opportunities for the College to engage and serve the Shreveport-Bossier community in meaningful ways.”

Centenary junior Reginald Porter, a psychology major from Colfax, Louisiana, completed his CO credit last year by volunteering at The Glen, a retirement community, and The Goldman School, a childcare facility operated by the Arc of Caddo-Bossier. He found the experience rewarding on not only a personal but also an intellectual level.

“During many of my visits, I served and observed through the lens of my Human Growth and Development psychology class,” says Porter. “The hands-on experience increased my retention of the material as well as the application. Overall, I left every visit with the famous ‘warm fuzzy feeling’ inside and new knowledge gained from my application of course material.”

Porter’s service experience at The Glen also brought him unexpected comfort as he dealt with his own grandmother’s recent death.

“During one of my visits at The Glen, I had a deep conversation with one of the residents about death,” recalls Porter. “She told me how she gained acceptance of death without acquiring despair. Because of this conversation, I gained insight about my own feelings stemming from my grandmother’s death and was able to deal with my sorrow of losing her. Ultimately, this lesson taught me that death gives life some meaning, and I am now more conscious of forging my own meaning and purpose as I work to achieve success.”

Centenary’s Trek program incorporates courses exploring Career and Culture in addition to Community, as well as a common first year sequence (Credo and Challenge) designed to cultivate intellectual curiosity, critical inquiry, thoughtful communication, problem solving, and respectful engagement with others. For more information, visit centenary.edu/trek.


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