Megan Gibbons Interim Courses

Service Learning in the Woodlawn Community (Jan 2002)

Participants explore issues of service and urban change through a study of and hands-on work in the Woodlawn community of east-central Birmingham.  Over its history, Woodlawn has gone from a thriving, racially segregated business community to a diverse area suffering many of the problems currently associated with America's inner cities.  Recently, members of the Woodlawn area churches have come together to try to coordinate existing services and provide new services to the area's homeless population, school-age children, and businesses. Students spend the first week of the term living in an area church, exploring the community, and studying the process of community building.  In the following weeks, students tutor students at Woodlawn High School and Whatley Elementary School, remodel homes with Outreach Incorporated, and prepare and serve meals at Community Kitchens.  During this time, the group meets twice per week to discuss readings, listen to community speakers, and reflect on project assignments.  Students are also asked to keep an analytic journal.  Students interested in this experience as part of they senior project must work with a faculty member in their major and submit a contract for individualized study.  Contact the Office of Service Learning to determine availability.