Students learn by teaching representatives of community nonprofits

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January 23, 2012

A dozen community nonprofits, each one adept at performing the impossible, teamed up with McDaniel students to work yet one more feat of magic – producing a video public-service announcement.

“We could never have done this on our own,” said Elena Hartley and Mary Carrier in unison about the PSA they produced in Spanish and English.

The duo from United Hands of Carroll County routinely helps immigrants immerse in a new culture – connecting the newcomers with the social, educational, financial, even emotional support they need to lead independent, full lives in what is to them a brand new world.

But even these two performers of everyday miracles were hesitant to enter the high tech realm of video production. Until, that is, English professor Julia Jasken and five students offered their services via a workshop to help nonprofits conquer their media phobias.

“This workshop opened up the doors to the little guys,” Hartley, who founded United Hands, said. “It is a way for us to be involved in media.”

The nonprofits weren’t alone in benefitting from the experience. With service learning an integral part of McDaniel’s curriculum, the students gained invaluable “real life” experience.

“I learned a little about the organizations themselves by helping them with the PSAs,” said senior English major Danielle Sirk of Littlestown, Pa. “It was a really good experience to help them do this.”

Jasken is a strong supporter of service learning and frequently involves her students in the community as part of their coursework.

"It's just so valuable for students to see these videos come to life – videos that are designed to raise awareness about important social issues for our community,” Jasken said. “These videos help organizations get their message out and make a difference in the lives of people in the community. I can't imagine a better learning experience for our students."

Also working with the nonprofits were junior Ben Azat of New Windsor, Md., and seniors Megan Franey of Marriottsville, Md., Sara Krome of New Windsor, Md., and Megan Robinson of Hanover, Pa.  In addition to United Hands, community organizations participating in the workshop were Disabled Veterans Chapter 22, Family and Children’s Services of Maryland, Melanoma Foundation, Carroll County Community Mediation Center, Catastrophic Health Planners, Carroll County Food Sunday, Literacy Council of Carroll County, Marriage Resource Center, Caring Carroll, GROW Mission, and Human Services Program.

Here’s a sampling of PSAs produced in conjunction with the workshop:

Elena Hartley and Mary Carrier from United Hands:
In Spanish 
In English

Janet Garcia from the Literacy Council of Carroll County

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