Social work seniors assist with community projects

Senior social work major Elizabeth Karst reviews materials with Holly Saunders, executive director of the Huntington County Council on Aging. Karst is from Anaheim, Calif.

Huntington, Ind.—Senior social work majors at Huntington University completed two major projects during the fall semester as a part of their experiential learning in macro social work.

Each student was assigned to a not-for-profit agency and prepared a grant for the agency. The grants are funded by the local company, Ecolab, as a part of its community benefits program. Students were assigned to the Huntington County Council on Aging, Huntington County Habitat for Humanity, Boys and Girls Club, and the Huntington County Free Clinic.

The timing for these grants worked out ideally with the fall semester schedule. The grant proposals are made available in early September with a submission date of mid- to late October. Award decisions are made by the later part of November so students are able to review the results as well.

Four social work seniors review materials with Holly Saunders. Front row (left to right): Beth Warblow, Jenny Simpson and Holly Saunders and back row (left to right) Jenna Rumple and Elizabeth Karst.

“Writing and preparing grant applications is a major focus for social workers who go into macro practice at the administrative and supervisory level, so this ‘hands-on’ training is extremely beneficial,” said Carla MacDonald, assistant professor of social work. “Alumni of HU’s social work program already have used the skills gained in their current positions.”

The second project for the senior class involved participation in a community needs assessment for the Huntington County Council on Aging. A long-term project for the council recently was started to thoroughly assess the needs of various neighborhoods in the city of Huntington. The focus is on community development, targeting not only the aging population but all members of a neighborhood recognizing that all citizens will eventually move into the targeted age group.

Upon completion of the work began for the project, members of the class met with Holly Saunders, executive director of the Huntington County Council on Aging, to share the results of their initial work completed on the survey.

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Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S.News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington University is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in northeast Indiana. The University is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).  


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