WorkFest diversity conference


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WorkFest diversity conference

  1. 1. “I have many wants but few needs”: Spring Break in Rural Appalachia<br />Jessica King<br />2011 UC Diversity Conference<br /><br />
  2. 2. University Honors Program<br />Comprises the top 5% of UC students and offers an engaging environment in which students are inspired to learn more, do more, and be more. Students are challenged through honors seminars and experiential learning projects that focus on:<br />Community engagement<br />Global studies<br />Leadership<br />Research and creative arts<br />Committed to helping students maximize their educational opportunities at UC while discovering and pursuing their passions in life and using their gifts and talents to make meaningful contributions to society. <br />
  3. 3. Appalachian Region<br />Appalachian mountain chain stretches from Mississippi to New York, including parts of Southern Ohio, spanning 205,000 square-miles<br />
  4. 4. Appalachian Culture<br /><ul><li>In brief
  5. 5. A strong work ethic, independence, self-reliance, pride, religion, humility, modesty, patriotism, loyalty, neighborliness, “un-churched” religion, family bonds</li></ul>Coal and timber industries<br />Distinct dialect<br /><ul><li>Social issues
  6. 6. Poverty, isolation, prescription drug abuse, mountain top removal</li></li></ul><li>“[The Appalachian people are] a misunderstood group, doing the best that they can. Just because they have a different culture, they are not any less important and they work just as hard.” – first year student<br />
  7. 7. Evolution of an Experience<br />Alternative spring break offered in conjunction with an honors seminar for a number of years<br />Appalachian Culture & Intercultural Communication<br />Taught by MJ Woeste, Dept. of Communication<br />Student demand to offer experience in the absence of the course<br />Spring 2010 – 12 students <br />Spring 2011 – 23 students<br />
  8. 8. Pre-Departure<br />General promotion of opportunity<br />Pre-readings and videos, linked in e-portfolio<br />The Road to Poverty: The Making of Wealth and Hardship in Appalachia -- Billings & Blee (2000)<br />“Hidden America: Children of the Mountains” – Diane Sawyer, 20/20 Special<br />Meeting led by returning students in the last two years<br />Icebreakers<br />More discussion of history and culture,<br />Anecdotes from prior experiences<br />
  9. 9. Christian Appalachian Project<br />“Workfest is CAP’s alternative spring break for college students. The event attracts more than 400 students from 40 different colleges and universities each March. During Workfest, students serve in teams to repair substandard housing and build new homes for low-income families in eastern Kentucky. No prior construction or building experience is necessary.” (<br />
  10. 10. Workfest<br />Orientation and welcome<br />Four work days<br />Mixed crews<br />New builds, rehab projects<br />Evening programming<br />History of the region<br />Poverty<br />Family dinner<br />School night<br />Nightly reflections<br />
  11. 11.
  12. 12. Impact<br />Credit/service requirements may have been an initial motivator<br />Post-experience reflection indicates much more<br />Interest in continuing to serve in some capacity<br />Recognizing local needs<br />Altered perceptions of the Appalachian region<br />Region of contrasts<br />Noted some reinforced stereotypes<br />More complex views about poverty and why it exists<br />
  13. 13. Impact<br />Ben Schutte (right)<br />3 year Workfest participant<br />Long-term volunteer with CAP<br />
  14. 14. “My perceptions have changed. It is a mixture of poor and not poor at times right next to each other. It has a beautiful landscape right next to a landscape full of garbage. My perception of Appalachia is best defined as one of stark contrasts.” – first year student<br />
  15. 15. “Community service will help me become a better and more understanding student. I want to help those in poverty locally.” – third year student<br />
  16. 16. Urban Appalachian Population<br />1 in 4 native Cincinnatians can trace their roots to Appalachia ( <br />Particular pockets of this population found in communities such as Camp Washington, Northside, Price Hill, etc. <br />Other People’s Words: The Cycle of Low Literacy, Purcell-Gates<br />Urban Appalachian Council<br />
  17. 17. “This trip has encouraged me to stay actively involved in the Cincinnati community because poverty is such a relevant issue here too. It has pushed me to want to sort of ‘stop the fire at the base of the flame’ and get involved in education and youth mentoring.” – first year student<br />