JMU Students Work on Research and Volunteer Projects at Gemeinschaft Home During the Fall 2019 Semester.
James Madison University prides itself on being the “engaged university,” meaning that the institution seeks to build partnerships with community organizations in Harrisonburg and the local area, to offer students contexts for learning that take them beyond the traditional classroom. Over the past several years, Gemeinschaft Home has developed its relationship with JMU faculty and students, including the addition several board members who are professors there, as well as the involvement of undergraduates and graduate students from a range of disciplines and majors.
Students complete internships on both the program and administrative side of the organization and volunteer a significant number of hours in a variety of capacities each semester. Volunteers help with clerical tasks such as updating documents, entering data into our database system, and organizing files, as well as assist in community events. Interns work with case managers and assist with group sessions and some work on grant writing, publications, and media projects.
During the Fall 2019 semester, JMU faculty and students from the School of Music and the Department of Social Work are continuing a music program (started in 2017) that brings students to the house to collaborate with Gemeinschaft Home residents on music and storytelling projects once a week. The project has continued over the last two years, with periodic community showcases of the group’s efforts.
Additionally, social work students studying organizational communication and public relations worked on a macro project during the Fall 2019 semester that focused entirely on fundraising ideas—via social media and online donation platforms—aimed at the college student population. They conducted research and produced a framework for implementing their proposed idea that will be quite useful for the organization.
Graduate students in the Masters of Public Administration program, enrolled in a graduate methods course that aims to expose students to a series of analytical techniques for practical applications in the public and nonprofit sectors, dove into the archives and files of former residents during the Fall 2019 semester. This hands-on experience for students enabled them to create a database of information about the population we serve and how the organization might gain insight from this information to understand and improve our programs and practices.
For more information about volunteer and internship opportunities, please visit http://www.gemeinschafthome.org/get-involved.html.