Past $100 Solution Projects
Know your rights!
Many renters face injustices from their landlords, so a group of students decided that the best way to solve this problem was to inform renters about their rights. They learned about the issues, gathered information, and created printed materials in English and Spanish. They partnered with a local Hispanic church to answer questions, give out handouts and prices such as gardening sets, and lead neighborhood beautification activities with the children such as making bird feeders.
Gales Point Crafts Cooperative
WKU faculty purchased crafts from 17 crafters from Gales Point village in Belize to be sold in the U.S. to support Gales Point school lunch program, since many school cannot lunch and sit outside while the others eat. Each vendor that participated in the program was given $20 and asked to contribute what they thought was fair, and all were more than generous. The items were brought to WKU, and some were sold during the Spring 2011 Fair Trade Convergence.
A group of students partnered with a Burmese family. The group learned about the very difficult refugee experience of this family and taught them about American culture. They realized that transportation was a long term issue for the family and decided to get them bicycles – a more long term solution than bus passes. The group helped the mother in the family study for her GED and donated bicycles themselves. Then, they spent the $100 on materials to supplement the bicycles (helmets, locks, pumps, and baskets so they can use them for grocery shopping).
A group of students in a Cultural Diversity in the U.S. class partnered with an Iraqi refugee family. The parents were not computer literate and often asked about computers and how to use them. Among other things, they wanted to use the computer to be able to speak with their other children who live abroad. The group utilized their $100 to purchase computer literacy software and worked with them so that they could gain the skills needed to become computer literate.
While interacting with a local refugee family, students learned that the mother wanted to learn how to write a check. After following up with the Bowling Green International Center, they learned that many other refugees lacked such skills and information. They partnered with a Service One Credit Union branch manager who facilitated a workshop at the Center, and purchased workshop materials. Among other things, participants learned about different types of account, how to write a check and fill out a deposit slip. The International Center staff videotaped the presentation and will partner with the presenter for future interactive workshops.
Sewing for Change
A group of students learned that their partner, a local refugee woman in an unhappy forced marriage, faced a number of issues, including no access to money, which made her fully dependent on her husband – a situation she wanted to change. She also told them she used to work as a seamstress back home and that she loved sewing and embroidery. They used the $100 to get business cards for her, start a webpage for marketing, and purchase supplies such as fabric in order for her to start her own business. They also initiated contacts in hopes that the project will grow to help other refugees to help themselves financially through their crafts.
Students in a communication's group problem-solving class learned that local Burmese refugee youth enjoyed playing soccer. The saw this as an opportunity to help them become better integrated in their schools. They hosted a soccer clinic at Holy Spirit Catholic for them and invited a local high school soccer coach, who talked to them about school sports, and invited them to attend soccer camp and tryouts. Through the drills and games the children were able to learn, have fun, develop teamwork, and win soccer equipment, such as soccer balls and shin guards to take home with them. More equipment was given to the church for future use.
Students coordinated a workshop in partnership with the Bowling Green Housing Authority in order to help residents gain important budgeting skills. The students found a First Security Bank employee who volunteered to give the presentation, passed out flyers door to door, and purchased a $50 gift card to be raffled at the event in order to increase attendance. Attendants learned about ways to save money, asked questions, and received printed information regarding budgeting and financial planning.
Educational Video for the Burmese Community
After learning about the difficulties local refugees who come from extremely rural areas face in adapting to their new environments, a group of students made a how-to video on hygiene and household maintenance. The video was shown at the health fair Holy Spirit Catholic Church had been coordinating for the Burmese community, and will continue to be used by the church. It included items and tasks they are often unfamiliar with, including dishwashers, vacuums, toilets, laundry washer and dryer, turning off lights, throwing out the trash, and preserving food.
GED Preparation in Bowling Green
A group of WKU students taught English as a second language to Cumberland Trace community Hispanics in preparation for their GED. The project spawned a full blown program that has continued for years afterward and continues to grow through a partnership between the WKU ALIVE Center for Community Partnerships and the department of Adult Education.
Teaching Car Maintenance
Students in a community-development through service-learning Honors colloquium course used their $100 to create a program to teach the basics of car maintenance in conjunction with the local Housing Authority. The skills attendants learned at the program will continue to help them save money for a life time that they can allocate to supporting their families, by conducting car maintenance tasks such as oil changes themselves.
Goats for a Dalit Village
During the Fall 2007 Semester at Sea voyage, students purchased 5 goats for a Dalit Village outside of Chennai, India. The goats, a suggestion by the local community center leader, would be used to help solve the village's problem: "70 percent of the village did not have the resources for one meal a day". Goats produce milk, as well as meat - which provides nutrition and profit.