Congratulations to the Whitely Community Council’s Ken Hudson and Frank Scott, as well as Ball State Associate Professor Kiesha Warren-Gordon (Criminal Justice) for their recently published article in the Journal of Community Engagement and Higher Education! “Voices of Partnership within the Critical Service-Learning Framework” discusses how community partners can be involved in all states of the critical service learning process, including course planning and collaborative research.
Over the course of the past three decades, service learning has become a major component in higher education. Heretofore, however, there has been no published research that focuses on the community partner or that assesses the role of the community partner within the community-service-learning (CSL) model. This paper fills that gap by focusing on the community partner relationship as delineated by Mitchell (2008), the community partner’s position in CSL, and the authentic relationships between the community partner, class, and instructor. Specifically, we address the following question: How do community partners articulate their voices within the CSL framework? This paper argues that community partners may articulate their own voices and concerns through the use of autoethnography, as well as through involvement in all stages of the CSL process, including course-planning and subsequent collaborative scholarship.
The Ross Community Center, located at 1110 W 10th St in Muncie, has seen some major renovations in the past year. June 2nd marked the grand opening of the new Ross Center baseball fields. The development includes youth baseball and softball fields, and other recreational facilities for the surrounding communities. The land for the baseball fields were paid for by a grant funded by the Ball Brothers Foundation and a donation from the Vectren Foundation. The anticipation of the fields sparked many other transformations at the center. Most recently, volunteers from Lowe’s worked on the construction of 10 pergolas, mural paintings on the building, painting of new picnic tables, and the construction of a stage with future plans of building an amphitheater. Lowe’s donated $2,500 in materials and two days of labor to the community center. The community center hopes that these renovations will help to revitalize the surrounding Thomas/Avondale neighborhood and bring more economic development opportunities to the area.
Photos provided by the Ross Center Facebook Page:
Photos provided by Heather Williams:
The playground began as a seed, an idea that grew at each monthly neighborhood association meeting. The Blaine/Southeast Neighborhood Association formed only a few short years ago in 2011 under the direction of Clifford Clemmons. Supported by a small group of dedicated residents, the association worked with Ball State University urban planning students under the direction of faculty member Lisa Dunaway to develop a neighborhood action plan. The Blaine/Southeast Neighborhood Action plan, finalized in December 2014 provided key information that reinforced the neighbors’ belief that Blaine/Southeast lacked adequate play space for its youth. Located on the far east side of the city, the neighborhood sits removed from Muncie’s established parks and playgrounds.
Planning for the neighborhood playground began in earnest in winter 2014 after the association was successful in attaining a $15,000 KaBoom playground grant. A committee of residents worked diligently to find funding to match the KaBoom grant, to plan for the Community Build Day and to clear the overgrown field where the playground would eventually be built. With the efforts spearheaded by Clemmons and Isabelle Sowers, Muncie Action Plan Volunteer Coordinator, Spring and Summer 2015 were busy with fundraisers and cleanups leading up to the September 12th Build Day.
Build Day was attended by dozens of volunteers who successfully erected a portion of the playground, with the final construction occurring throughout the following few weeks. The October 16th ribbon cutting was well attended by residents, volunteers and city officials. Since October, the playground committee has continued to fundraise for the purchase of mulch and landscaping as well as other necessities like lighting and signage through their GoFundMe site. The Neighborhood Association understands that the playground is a community asset, but one that will require constant oversight and maintenance. Association members are committed to creating a play space that is well-loved and well-used by neighborhood children for years to come.