Service Learning Experience with Juvenile Detention Center

James Perry’s class, Introduction to Criminal Justice, has a few students volunteering at the Lancaster County Youth Services Center (LCYSC) this fall for their service-learning project. Senior Katie Homan is participating in one of these groups. Homan and another Wesleyan student are creating and leading a group on goal setting for the two female pods at the LCYSC. So far, they have completed two sessions and will be doing more throughout the remainder of the semester. There are also two other students who are working as mentors at the Lancaster County Youth Services Center.

During the goal setting sessions, the NWU students have worked with multiple girls who come from extremely diverse cultures and backgrounds. The NWU students are focusing on teaching the girls how to set and achieve goals. Homan said, “All of the girls have different ambitions and goals for their lives – we hope to help give them the information and spark their desires to achieve these goals and change their lives for the better.” Many of the girls are used to being talked down to and even put themselves down. Because of this, Homan and her fellow classmate have focused on helping the girls to identify their strengths. By encouraging the girls to have a positive attitude, they are hoping the girls will see that they have the ability to achieve their goals. After the first two sessions, the students noticed that the girls are becoming more relaxed and opening up to the group members, sharing personal stories and experiences.

Homan is a social work major and believes this service learning experience was great. “Much of what I have been learning in my classes this semester pertains to the work we are doing with the kids at the Lancaster County Youth Services Center. Doing my service learning here has been a great opportunity for me to be able to incorporate class concepts and lessons into actual life experiences. “

 

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