Class assignment turns into $150,000 in grants

February 18, 2013

When John Medina began an assignment for his freshmen composition course, he knew he wanted his paper to be more than a grade. Now a sophomore, the biology major’s Write To Serve paper has helped the Comal County Senior Citizens Foundation in New Braunfels receive $150,000 in grants.

With a pre-med focus and an interest in nutrition, Medina researched current programs available for seniors at the CCSCF, including Meals On Wheels, congregate meals and nutrition classes. He then presented his research to Lynn Mahaffy, funding development director for the CCSCF, who wrote two grants referencing Medina’s research. What started as an assignment has turned into valuable resources for the foundation.

“I enjoy writing when it has purpose,” Medina said. “In Professor Beth Barry’s freshman composition class, she let us choose a topic that mattered to us. I looked into elderly studies and why they needed help in the areas of money, counseling and nutrition services. I feel great that the grants were approved and to know that the work I did was good enough to warrant them. A grade doesn’t always tell you that. A successful, real-life situation like this does.”

Mahaffy, who previously worked with Texas Lutheran University students on grant proposals, said their involvement adds a fresh outlook to the research process. With the two most recent grants from Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio and the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation, the CCSCF will continue their wellness administration, Meals On Wheels, fitness classes, educational seminars, adult daycare services, home repair help and install a brand new computer network system.

“The students’ involvement has made a huge difference in our own approach,” Mahaffy said. “Their minds are so flexible and always coming across new foundations and ideas that broaden our spectrum. John was a gem to work with and served us well. Seeing young people like him interested in helping the older generation and addressing their problems is refreshing. John truly cares about them.”

Medina’s professor, English lecturer Beth Barry, said this assignment was a chance for him to use his skills to improve the quality of life for people in our surrounding community. 

“John worked very hard to find good information to support this grant,” Barry said. “When I found out, all I could say was, ‘That’s a lot of Meals on Wheels!’ I’m so happy his research will help make good things happen for the clients of the CCSCF. It makes me proud to be a Bulldog.”

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