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An alternative summer break

Drake University’s Summer Service-Learning and Social Justice Program (SSSJP) is offering students an alternative summer break experience.

For six weeks this summer, seven Drake students will intern at local nonprofit organizations and experience living at or below the poverty rate. Thanks to the Drake University Slay Fund for Social Justice, the students will receive housing, a group meal fund, and small stipend. The Slay Fund was launched by a gift to distinctlyDrake from Brent, ED’70, and Diane, ED’70, Slay. The fund supports the SSSJP and other programs at Drake that advance social justice.

The seven students participating in the SSSJP will live together on Drake’s campus, working 25-30 hours a week with their nonprofit partner and engaging in readings and critical reflections about poverty and social responsibility.

“Overall, our goal is to help students become more engaged, global citizens,” says Mandi McReynolds, director of community engagement and service-learning at Drake. “We hope that as they study and begin to understand service and social justice, that they start to understand their larger commitment as citizens.”

Madison Johansen, a junior studying environmental policy, is working with the Des Moines Youth Learning Garden. Johansen is a service-learning ambassador and has been working with the Youth Learning Garden since last August. The SSSJP opportunity has provided Johansen with additional exposure and responsibility.

“I already know the project pretty intimately because I’ve been working with the organization since last August,” says Johansen. “But, now I’m actually living and understanding it, which has given me the opportunity to actively reflect on what I’m doing.”

The other students and community partners involved are:
Gabby Buttler, After School Arts Program (ASAP)
Ashton Weiss, Children and Family Urban Ministries
Quincy Brown, Minorities on the Move
Cody Austin, Lutheran Services of Iowa Refugee Outreach
Abigail Schoenrade, Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families
Chloe Marshall, Latinos Latinas Al Exito, Inc.

The program will conclude on June 30. For more information, contact Mandi McReynolds at 515-271-2338 or mandi.mcreynolds@drake.edu.