During the week of June 9-15, students, faculty and staff from the Doctor of Education program participated in the program’s first annual Service Week event. Students, faculty and their families across the United States volunteered for service opportunities in support of organizations that give back to their communities.
Each participant scheduled a date and time of service for the organization of their choice. Event organizers encouraged participants to document their service and use the hashtag #USAHSServiceWeek to bring participants together via social media.
EdD student Raymond Delacruz couldn’t participate during Service Week, so he chose to give back the week prior when his scheduled allowed for it. He donated his time at Symbio Physiotherapy in NYC preparing his colleagues for their manual therapy certification exam.
“Thank you for letting me be a part of the EdD Service Week initiative even though I could not do it during the official dates,” he said. “It is nice giving back and very rewarding. My coworkers said they used what we reviewed which made a positive impact on their patient care.”
Contributing faculty member, Shannon Groff, and Director of Faculty Development, Bill Ganza, spent their volunteer hours at the Crawford Early Learning Center in Jacksonville, FL.
“Had a great time volunteering at an incredible place that is aiding our community in housing, healthcare and hope,” Groff said.
Event organizer and EdD faculty member Lori Kupczynski got the family involved in her service day. She wrote in her Facebook post, “What a wonderful day to give back a little at the Ronald McDonald House in San Antonio, TX. As part of the first annual USAHS Service Week across the country, my girls and I had a great time baking treats for the families staying there.”
Angela Gibson, EdD contributing faculty member, and her son spent the day at the Isle of Wight Christian Outreach Program, a food bank in Smithfield, VA. They prepared bags of nonperishable food for community members in need.
EdD students Jaclyn Schwieterman and Chrysten Gessel said they had a great time helping put up drywall at a local Habitat for Humanity in Barlow, OH.
Another EdD student, Maggie Lang, put two baskets together and sold raffle tickets in her home care agency in Hicksville, NY. She
collected $350 and will donate the money to a family with a child who has special needs. The family lives in a one-room apartment and the father recently lost his job. The child suffers from a very rare seizure disorder and often misses school, so his mom can’t work.
“I think the family will benefit from this great gift we are going to give them!” Lang said. “Thanks for this great idea in doing service week!”
Event co-organizer and USAHS staff member Frank Bennett along with staff member Kimberly Terrell participated in a beach cleanup in Florida as their act of service in association with American Red Cross to keep the community clean and environment healthy.
USAHS alumni joined in on the fun, too. Recent graduate, David Edwards, along with his wife and two daughters met up with current students Rhonda Haley and Alison Kreger at Oglebay Zoo in Wheeling, VA. The group did garden and flowerbed clean up such as pulling weeds and cleaning up debris.
The photos and enthusiasm surrounding the event sparked excitement in social media comments and inspired others to get out and volunteer. Although it is an all online program, EdD students, faculty, staff and alumni were able to come together for a greater cause in all parts of the U.S. Event co-organizers, Kupczynski and Bennett, are both excited about continuing this tradition.
“This is an amazing opportunity for our students across the country to come together and give back to all of our communities. I am excited to co
ntinue our EdD Service Week in 2020,” said Kupczynski.
Bennett commented, “Any time that we can give back to the community is a success for us. This unique service week
idea allowed participants to reach out to organizations that they wanted to contribute to and brought members of the EdD program together from a distance.”
Thank you to all who participated in this year’s USAHS Service Week and for sharing your inspiring experiences in giving back to your communities.