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Social work majors combine coursework with community service

JACKSON, Tenn.Oct. 3, 2012 – Union University’s School of Social Work offers many options for students to gain experience within the Jackson community that may contribute to job opportunities, according to students in the program

Foundations for Social Work Practice is one class that emphasizes community outreach by assigning each student a resident at the local assisted living center, Alexandria Place, to connect with on a weekly basis.

Throughout this semester, each student will construct a memory book for the resident they are assigned. One goal of this assignment is to give students practice of presenting themselves well while talking with people from a variety of backgrounds, according to Anne Richoux, a junior social work major.

Richoux hopes to meet with her resident once a week to understand what memories are most important to her.

“Hopefully I can get some pictures of her childhood and her family throughout the years, and piece that together in a way that honors and brings joy to her, so that she can remember the things that have been important to her throughout her life,” Richoux said.

Through many activities on or off campus, social work majors are reaching out to the community and learning to relate to people of different backgrounds and ages.

“I think that social work has a lot of value because it’s so community-oriented,” said Alison Holcomb, a junior social work major. “Social work sees the value in change within a community that will cause for change in bigger ways.”

Holcomb practices social work outside the classroom as the academic coordinator for J Crib, an urban community outreach program at Evangelical Community Church. Each week Holcomb meets with the kids from J Crib to help them with homework and potentially help with monetary needs for things like school uniforms.

“I really want to go into community development and work,” Holcomb said. “My priority is getting to spend time with [the kids]. I want them to realize that they are special because God made them that way, and that they have worth and value in Jesus Christ.”

Social work students also helped with the fifth annual homicide survivors’ walk on Union’s campus Oct. 1 that is a part of the Trauma, Faith and Resilience Initiative under the Center for Just and Caring Communities.

By Elizabeth Oakes (’14)

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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