|RPCC student Elliot Celestine, participating as part of a college psychology service-learning class project, addresses elementary school students at Fifth Ward Elementary in Reserve on the importance of being prepared for natural disasters, such as hurricanes.
Students from several classes at River Parishes Community College in Sorrento took time recently to help elementary school students at Fifth Ward Elementary in Reserve learn how to prepare for hurricanes and other natural disasters. On April 20 and 21, RPCC students spoke with the grade-school students, acted out skits, and distributed just under 500 starter emergency preparedness kits, all in an effort to help prepare the children for natural disasters which may come their way.
Each starter kit contained water, crackers, batteries, a flashlight, hand sanitizer, a small radio and other essential items. Each student also received a blanket with the kit. The kits were valued at approximately $20 apiece.
“These service-learning projects are a great way for RPCC students to lend a helping hand to the communities that surround us,” said Dr. Iris Henry, a biology professor at RPCC who managed the project. “I think this is one of the best ways that we as a faculty can help to expand the horizons of our students, and give them experiences that they may not have otherwise had. The RPCC students did a remarkable job, and the elementary students were very receptive.”
The visitors from RPCC gave the Fifth Ward students a pretest at the beginning of the presentation. After all of the skits were performed, the speeches were made, and the kit bags handed out, a post-test was administered, to see what was learned.
A total of eight college classes participated in the two-day service-learning project. In all, two English classes, two education classes, two psychology classes, one biology and one sociology class from RPCC. That amounts to a total of 80 college students giving their time to help others.
This year is the third year RPCC has been able to use grant money, administered through Louisiana Campus Compact, to conduct service-learning projects. The grant is part of the Learn and Serve America Higher Education grant and the Corporation for National and Community Service. The bags which contained the starter kits were donated by Louisiana Machinery.
In the previous two years, the same information was presented to West St. John High School and West St. John Elementary.
Every class at the elementary school, kindergarten through fifth-grade, got a presentation from RPCC students. Every student at the school received a bag.
River Parishes Community College faculty members Dr. Iris Henry, Dr. Woukeenia Cousin, Marla Erwin, Dr. Ben Nabors, Emily Aucoin, Julie Sullivan, and Dr. Lee Kleinpeter allowed and encouraged their classes to participate. Also providing key assistance were staff members who assisted on the project, Mike Hubbs, Jane LeBlanc, Kim Stephens, Lisa Watson, Lisa Jackson, Debi Graham and Beatrice Evans.