SNC students serve local non-profits

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Sierra Nevada College students from this semester’s service learning course have been hard at work volunteering in the greater Lake Tahoe community.

Service learning is unique to the interdisciplinary studies program at SNC. In their junior or senior year, INTD students give 60 or more hours to a local non-profit organization, honing their academic and professional skills while giving back to the local community.

The course culminates in a final project, combining the student’s unique skills, the needs of the organization, and the interests of the community.

Here is a preview of what the students of service learning have been doing:

Junior Zoe Tuttle has been working with KNPB, the PBS affiliate station in Reno. She has helped with a variety of the television station’s regular tasks like camera operator and prompter. She also appeared live on camera dressed up as a costume character.

“Through service learning, I have looked into the larger purpose of PBS, and the importance of public broadcasting,” Tuttle said. “Because of this, I wanted to connect KNPB and SNC.”

Photo courtesy: Zoe Tuttle
Junior Zoe Tuttle plays Curious George while working at KNPB, the PBS affiliate in Reno.

For her final project, she will be hosting an event that will bring editors from the PBS production ARTEFFECTS to the Incline campus.

KNPB’s ARTEFFECTS tells the stories of Reno area artists and their work, to share the effects that art has on local communities and beyond.

At the event, editors will discuss segments they have created and the process behind production. The event will be held Nov. 5, 6-9 p.m. in TCES 139/141.

Junior Gabby Dodd is working with the High Fives Foundation in Truckee. High Fives is a non-profit organization that helps athletes recover from life-altering injuries while raising awareness about safety and injury prevention.

During her service hours, Dodd has worked with High Fives operations and media manager Becca Lefanowicz. Dodd has worked events and created social media content, in addition to assisting the day-to-day necessities such as office work and cleaning gym equipment.

Dodd believes that the mission of High Fives is incredibly important for athletes.

“A lot of the time we think that it only happens to other people. Sometimes we forget that life-changing injuries can happen to us,” Dodd said.

For her final project, Dodd will produce a video series for the foundation’s Instagram account, where she will focus on awareness and prevention of injuries in winter sports. She plans to interview athletes about their experiences, in order to get the word out there.

“I want to share people’s stories and inspire others in similar situations, giving them hope and letting them know that there is a community of people who care,” Dodd said.

Senior Jamie Edwards has devoted her time to an equine therapy program for kids located in Carson City. During equine therapy, a licensed occupational therapist observes how clients interact with horses through activities such as grooming, feeding and leading the horse in order to identify and improve behavioral patterns, emotions and thought processes. The children also work with horses in games that help improve motor skills.

Clients of Edwards’ organization include children with autism and Down Syndrome. She has assisted during therapy lessons and observed the onsite occupational therapist. She was recently promoted to horse handler, meaning she guides the horse while the therapist works with the client.

For Edwards, the award is seeing the kids thrive.

“I think a lot of people assume that other forms of therapy are most beneficial, but I’ve seen more progress with the kids than in any other type of therapy I’ve seen, and I have observed a lot of forms of therapy,” Edwards said.

Edwards’ final project will be a blog that tells the stories of the individual horses that work with these children.

Senior Nicholas Kearney is volunteering with the Boys & Girls Club after-school program in South Lake Tahoe where he works with the “Blue Tigers,” kindergarteners and first-graders, about the environment.

Kearney teaches the kids about going green, picking up their trash and conserving water. His lesson plans also include topics like how to be bear aware, reducing pollution and the three R’s of conversation: reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Kearney’s favorite part about his service learning project is working with the kids.

“They make my day, seeing the smiles on their faces. It makes my day a whole lot better,” Kearney said.

Kearney’s lessons complement existing Boys & Girls Club curriculum in reading, writing, and math.

“I hope they can pass on what I’ve taught them to their friends,” Kearney said. “I hope the staff can take my material and use it in their curriculum. They don’t have curriculum for conservation of the environment.”

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