Student Solutions Benefit Local Nonprofit

Collegiate School students in the International Emerging Leaders - Americas senior seminar today visited Sacred Heart Center, a nonprofit serving Richmond’s Latino community, to present creative ideas to assist the organization.
This spring, the students have focused on an in-depth service-learning program with the center. In March, they visited Sacred Heart and interviewed Tanya Gonzalez, the center’s executive director, to learn about the organization, who it benefits and what its needs are. The students compiled those needs into a list of projects that they could tackle.

The experience working with Sacred Heart opened the students’ eyes to problems that exist in their own community, said Erica Coffey, Collegiate’s Director of Global Engagement and Inclusion, who teaches the seminar.

“They were frustrated that they did not know about these issues and would not have known about them had they not visited Sacred Heart,” she said.

The students then returned to Sacred Heart earlier this month to re-interview Ms. Gonzalez and speak with the organization’s volunteer coordinator and youth programs coordinator to gather more information.

This morning, the students presented three final products to assist the center in its mission: a volunteer manual, a screening and hiring process for volunteers, and recommendations for ways to follow up with individuals once they leave the center, including a registration form, a more active social media presence and face-to-face evaluations.

“I really appreciated the thoughtfulness of what the students presented today,” said Ms. Gonzalez. “They covered a lot of ground. Their ideas are definitely not something that will sit on the shelf.”
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