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GlobalGiving UK annually rewards worthy grassroots organizations for demonstrating an effective influence in Eastern and Central Africa. The $11,000 grant awarded to WISER International will allow three WISER Girls to begin secondary school with complete funding for all necessary academic, health, and safety provisions. Thanks to WISER and its supporters, girls in Muhuru Bay have only recently began to qualify for university. The grant will allow the three girls to join this growing group of success stories.
The impact of WISER in improving the lives of underprivileged women is only expanding thanks to recognition from organizations such as GlobalGiving. DukeEngage students will continue to contribute to this influence as more and more girls in Kenya are directed on a path towards health, safety, and academic achievement. For more information about the organization and the award, click here.
Duke University senior and DukeEngage alum Sarah Du recently received the 2015 Community Impact Student Award from North Carolina Campus Compact, a network of N.C. educational institutions devoted to encouraging civic engagement. The award allows each of the organization’s member schools to select one student who demonstrates exceptional commitment to partnership and leadership within their campus and community. The winners will be honored at the annual Citizenship, Service, Networking, and Partnership (CSNAP) conference hosted by the Compact on November 7th 2015.
Sarah Du’s commitment to service is evident through her work as a DukeEngage participant, and her dedication to the program in years following. Du spent eight weeks of her 2013 summer in Bennettsville, South Carolina, working with the Children’s Defense Fund and Freedom Schools along with six of her peers. After her return, Du served as a DukeEngage Academy Leader to help prepare students to have valuable experiences similar to her own. As a result of her unwavering commitment to civic engagement, Du was also chosen to speak at the DukeEngage “Thanks a Million” event in September 2015, celebrating the program’s one millionth hour of service.
Du is among the 21 students selected for this year’s Community Impact Student Award. The CSNAP conference will gather students and faculty from more than 20 North Carolina colleges and universities, and will feature training programs on engagement, leadership, and cultural competency. Du is currently majoring in Public Policy, and is working as a research assistant at the Sanford School. She accredits her interest in education policy to her DukeEngage experience and is continuing to explore service opportunities within the field in her home state of Washington.
Layne Walker recently accepted a policy associate position at the Council for Children’s Rights after being connected to the opportunity through DukeEngage’s Charlotte program. The CFCR is a nonprofit organization that advocates for children’s rights to adequate health, safety, and education. Walker’s academic year internship included projects serving two purposes: informing the organization’s individual casework and informing their policy advocacy.
In recounting her first day at the CFCR, Walker described the emotional experience of shadowing defense attorneys at children’s detention hearings. “What moved me most was watching their devastated faces when the judge told them they couldn’t get out that week because their parents or grandparents didn’t show up to take them home and accept responsibility for them.” Walker also helped to compile data on the state of juvenile justice in Mecklenburg County and to track the “raise the age” bill in the NC General Assembly.
Walker’s work on these projects will continue through the end of the school year. Walker also appreciated the warm office environment, and the fun activities she was able to be a part of, including field trips and discussions, “I even looked forward to Monday mornings.” Layne praises the CFCR on their well-planned internship program, which fulfils the internship requirement for her Public Policy major.
Duke students Emily Cohen and Kyle Peterson spent their DukeEngage summer interning at Raising a Reader Massachusetts. RAR MA is a nonprofit organization aimed at combatting low literacy in children by encouraging families to read together, and increasing families’ access to books.
The mission and strategies used by Raising a Reader to achieve this goal stems from years of research conducted to understand the relationship between early childhood reading with parents/caregivers and academic success. Cohen and Peterson split their time with RAR between providing administrative assistance within the organization’s central office and providing hands-on service within the community.
Cohen focused primarily on development of marketing tools. In an interview with the organization, Cohen stated that her initial attraction to RAR came from the scientifically supported, innovate approach to preventing destructive behavior in youth.
Peterson worked on the creation a text messaging program for parents to use. He noted his enjoyment of work outside of the office, which allowed him to connect the administrative tasks he performed and the real-life impact they contributed to.
Both spoke highly of the organization’s enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. Cohen commended her co-workers on their commitment to the program, “everyone cares about the mission – it’s not just a job to them.”
Below: Emily Cohen and Kyle Peterson engage in hands-on work with Raising a Reader Massachusetts. Credit: Raising a Reader MA
Last month, four Duke Engage alumni placed third in the Global Grand Challenges Summit in Beijing. Bianca Bracht, Christine Schindler, Melina Smith, and “Dutch” Taylor Waanders worked with two other Duke students (current and former) to create Girls Engineering Change, a nonprofit organization that aims to educate young girls about engineering in order to close the gender gap in STEM fields.
The summit, sponsored by the National Academy of Engineering, included a start-up pitch competition, during which team members presented the organization’s mission. During the pitch, the group focused on how Girls Engineering Change helps grant middle school and high school girls the tools necessary to combat certain challenges, including some of the 14 Grand Challenges addressed during the summit’s conference portion.
In the summer of 2013, Bracht, Smith, and Schindler traveled to Tanzania through DukeEngage to tackle health issues surrounding progression in medical technology and proper staff training for equipment. Dutch Waanders participated in a 2012 trip to Mombasa, where he worked as a Pratt Fellow in the medical center. The DukeEngage alumni all graduated last spring, and have since dedicated a significant amount of time to engineering education outreach through Girls Engineering Change.
The team’s third-place finish in the competition yielded a $5,000 prize to be used towards growth of the organization. They were also able to enjoy a number of speeches from professionals also working to confront Grand Challenges on a global scale. Some of the most prevalent topics included climate change and health care. The group noted the value of connecting with students and professionals from all over the world, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and China.
Girls Engineering Change has seen major expansion since its beginning at Duke University. So far, GEC has encouraged over 300 girls to explore the engineering field. The organization has allowed them to construct tangible products intended to benefit developing nations, such as the ones these group members encountered during their DukeEngage experiences.
We are delighted to announce that after a national search, beginning October 5th, 2015, Kristin Wright joined the DukeEngage staff as an Assistant Director for Programs. Kristin is well-known to many of you in her role as the Assistant Director of Duke Service-Learning.
We are so excited that she will bring this extensive experience in civic engagement and service-learning, higher education administration, and collaboration with faculty, staff, students, and community partners to our work at DukeEngage. In her new role, Kristin will work closely with DukeEngage faculty-led programs, student outreach and advising, connecting DukeEngage programs with the curriculum, and developing our training and professional development for students in U.S.-based programs.
Kristin is also a former teacher, avid gardener and local foodie, and a committed Durham resident and volunteer.
Jerry Chia-Rui Chang ('17)
The Duke Engage Program serves as a pipeline between Duke University undergraduate students and environmental non-profits and governmental agencies in the Portland Metro area. 1000 Friends is a proud partner of the prestigious university’s program. This year, we are fortunate to have Jerry join the team! A Tapei, Taiwan native, Jerry’s focus in Computer Science and Statistical Science has helped stir up some new analysis in Eugene, Oregon. Find out more.
COSTA MESA, CA: What happens when you combine the immersive service experience of a world-renowned East Coast university with a dynamic girls-only summer camp on the West Coast? That’s what Girls Incorporated of Orange County is learning this summer by welcoming eight Duke University students from North Carolina as part of the DukeEngage program, specifically designed to encourage Duke University undergraduates’ service learning and civic engagement. Since 2007, DukeEngage has provided one-time funding for over 3,000 undergraduates to volunteer to help meet a community need locally, domestically or internationally in over 78 nations. While in the past international DukeEngage projects were emphasized, in recent years the program has begun to focus on domestic placements. Simultaneously, Duke University’s Global Women’s Health Technologies, formed in 2013, was looking for a partner with whom it could share efforts to empower women through technology, education, and solutions. Girls Inc. of Orange County, which encourages girls to enter the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields that women are often underrepresented in, seemed like the perfect fit.
The DukeEngage students worked directly with Girls Inc. of Orange County’s Eureka! Manager, Cathleen Chase, and STEM Manager, Christie Pearce, to develop a week-long curriculum for the Girls Inc. Eureka! program. Eureka!, a four week summer camp held at both Santa Ana College and Golden West College every July, exposes Orange County middle-school and high-school girls to the many facets of STEM. Through fun, hands-on workshops, girls are able to discover and explore different career paths and plan their futures. Eureka! also includes fitness, nutrition, and personal development activities that encourage girls to be healthy, strong, and self-confident. In addition to implementing their engineering curriculum at Eureka!, the Duke students will help facilitate Girls Inc. programs in topics such as Living Safe & Strong and College Bound.
Jaleelah Abdulai, a senior at Duke University majoring in Sociology, specializing in Medical Sociology and minoring in Chemistry, plans to attend medical school and become a cardiologist. On why she wanted to volunteer with Girls Inc. of Orange County specifically, Abdulai stated: “I wanted to work with Girls Inc. because of their dedication to the empowerment of girls in all areas of life, although more specifically in STEM. In middle school, my female science teachers were always amongst my favorite – they showed me that my interest in the sciences is welcomed. Girls Inc. provides me with the opportunity to impact these girls in the same way my teachers have before.” Likewise, Aitana Zermeno, a junior Biology major at Duke University said, “I was inspired to pursue science, and I hope to pass the inspiration along to the current generation of girls.”
The DukeEngage students will be volunteering with Girls Inc. of Orange County until August 15th. Through the scope of their work, they hope to serve as positive, accessible, role models that will inspire girls to pursue college careers in any field. In the words of Rohini Paul, a sophomore at Duke University: “As a passionate feminist and advocate for the healthy development of women, I wanted to volunteer with Girls Inc. of Orange County because of my desire to further the intellectual, social, and personal enrichment of girls and women in society!”
About Girls Incorporated of Orange County: Established in 1954 as the Harbor Area Girls Club, Girls Inc.® of Orange County has been a respected member of the non-profit community for over 60 years. The mission of Girls Inc. is to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. We put our mission into practice through the Girls Inc. experience that equips girls to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers and grow into healthy, educated and independent adults. Girls Inc. of Orange County positively changes the lives of over 5,000 girls, ages 5 to 18, each year, by providing year-round holistic, compensatory, and intentional programming focusing on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math), financial literacy, sound body image, healthy relationships, and college and career readiness.
Learn more about Girls Inc. in Orange County, California.
These two photos are from our outing this past Saturday when the entire group played a "friendly" with the Croftdene team in Chatsworth, Durban, SA. The Triangle Futbol Club uniforms are from when we got together with members of the same team last year and handed over lots of soccer gear, including these from the Triangle Futbol Club where my kids have played for years. It was a high energy, fun time and great to see the youth from both countries come together on the field!