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Students Benefitting From Work With Local Nonprofits

July 7, 2017

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When Assistant Professor Beth Barry began Write To Serve in 2010, she envisioned a program where students could use their skills to help local organizations. Now, seven years, later the initiative is still going strong. This summer, three of Barry’s former composition students are working with area nonprofits.

Senior Kaydee Nance, a double major in English and communication studies, is interning with the Texas Foster Care and Adoption Services (TFCAS) of San Antonio. Nance, who’s also focusing on culture and gender studies, has a specific interest in nonprofit work.

“I tend to have a more gender analytical approach to information and I want to learn more about nonprofit work especially in relation to women's empowerment and progression of rights,” she said. “TFCAS is a wonderful starting point to bridge the gap between the nonprofit world and social change. I think one of our biggest disconnects with this world is lack of understanding and empathy, so I’m appreciative to learn more.”

Junior business major Scheurer Smith is working with the Comal County Senior Citizen Center said she’s also gained more of an understanding of and appreciation for the work that goes into helping senior citizens.

“Working there has changed my perspective on a lot of ideas I had about the well being of seniors and I’ve seen how much the senior center does for the community,” Smith said. “I helped with a Meals On Wheels run and being able to see and interact with the people your work impacts gives it a whole new meaning.“

As a social innovation and social entrepreneurship major, junior Abigail Muehlbrad is especially passionate about helping nonprofits financially sustain their services.

“I’m doing research and grant writing for Connections Individual and Family Services in New Braunfels, but I’m working mostly with Professor Barry on campus,” she said. “This opportunity is definitely enhancing my research and problem solving abilities and giving me a better idea of what I’d like to do after college.”

All three students also said the experiences have been empowering on many levels and encourage others to participate in Professor Barry’s program to help make a difference in the lives of others.

“I’ve come to realize there are certain privileges I have in this that others don’t and I have to raise my voice for others who are not being listened to,” Nance said. “Their voice is just as important and valid as mine. It’s not my job to take the fight from others, but it is my job to actively participate in dismantling harmful systems, conversations, and modes of thinking, from an educated and exploratory standpoint. I’ve been able to observe and understand a new group of individuals who are fighting for the betterment of others, in this case children. They are the voices and faces of our future and they need to be invested and believed in.“

(left to right) Abby Muehlbrad, Scheurer Smith, and Kaydee Nance.