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Spotlight on Walden // Dec 20, 2018

Walden’s 13th Annual Global Days of Service (Part 1)

Global Day of Service participantsWalden University’s Global Days of Service is an annual opportunity to participate in service projects to effect positive social change. The Walden community and their family and friends can participate in Walden-hosted events or find another cause they are passionate about.

This year, many members of the Walden community focused their efforts on feeding those in need. Hunger is a worldwide problem affecting an estimated 821 million people, or 10.9% of the planet’s population, according to the latest data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. There were also students and faculty who decided to give back through educational opportunities, healthcare, and caregiving.

Feeding Those in Need

For the past four years, PhD in Public Policy and Administration student Siamak “Mike” Pouraryan from Laguna Niguel, California, has seen a rise in the number of hungry people his local Catholic parish pantry serves. “In Orange County, the figure is around an estimated 301,000 people, and about a third of them are children,” explains Pouraryan, who serves on the pantry staff. His parish is an agency of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County, and, together with its network of 190 agencies, helps serve 25 million meals a year. “We have to create a better world and leave it better than we found it for the sake of our children and grandchildren.”

Dr. Monique Lynch from Middleburg, Virginia, collected more than 2,000 pounds of food in four hours in partnership with Scouting for Food, a nationwide effort for Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts that aims to help stock the shelves of local food pantries just before the holidays. Dr. Lynch, who is the program director for Walden’s MS in Education (MSEd) program, has volunteered as den leader of her son’s Cub Scout pack, Pack 1737, for the past four years. “Volunteering is a great way to teach young Scouts about the positive impact they can have on the lives of others through just a few hours of walking around neighborhoods and transporting bags of donated food,” says Dr. Lynch.

In Seattle, Dr. Irana Hawkins, contributing faculty member in the PhD in Public Health program, looks forward to Global Days of Service every year. For the 13th annual event, Dr. Hawkins worked at the Rainier Valley Food Bank, which serves a diverse population. “To me, Global Days of Service represents the good we can contribute toward the just and humane world we would like to see,” says Dr. Hawkins.

Walden Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) student Laticia Nicole Beatty’s Global Days of Service project was personal. “I’ve seen hunger and experienced not having food,” explains Beatty. The Durham, North Carolina, resident collected, delivered, and served food to the elderly. “It’s important for us to take care of one another.”

Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr., Doctor of Education (EdD) student Susan Regina Robinson from Schaumburg, Illinois, packed boxes of food to send to underdeveloped countries that are experiencing drought and nutritional deficiencies. “Dr. King’s service provided the pivotal example of how stepping outside of one’s self and helping others can forever change the trajectory of the lives you touch, and, ultimately, the world,” says Robinson.

Providing Education and Healthcare

In Montana, Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) – Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) student Michelle Parker volunteered to care for stroke survivors and their caregivers for a weekend. “As I learn about advocacy and caring for others, I am energized to pursue my passion of caregiver activism,” explains Parker. “Considering the condition and circumstances of these individuals, those who are struggling need to know that someone wants to care for them.”

Felix Ukam Ngwu held a preventive health seminar and provided medical care and medical laboratory services for poor men, women, and children in the Ikot Ansa community of Nigeria’s Calabar/Cross River State. The Master of Public Health (MPH) student used a team of 15 volunteers and partnered with a local nonprofit organization to address the prevailing needs of those around him. “Every October, I look forward to working alongside students and faculty who share the same aspirations as I do to use my expertise and give back to society,” says Ngwu.

When two ex-offenders in Nashville requested help with computer proficiency and learning how to print things off a computer, BS in Forensic Psychology student Felicia Hogan couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get involved with Dismas Charities, Inc., an organization that teaches skills and provides motivation to previously incarcerated men and women. She says, “I want to have a hand in helping to revolutionize the U.S. prison system and shape it into a force for rehabilitation, hopefully lowering recidivism and aiding these individuals in successful reentry into society.”

When Dr. Susan Baer, contributing faculty member in the School of Public Policy and Administration, isn’t teaching at Walden, she’s volunteering at the York County Literacy Council in York, Pennsylvania, where there are approximately 40,000 adults who are functionally illiterate. “I currently tutor one student in pre-GED reading and writing, and I find joy and meaning in my volunteer work by making a positive impact in my student’s life,” says Dr. Baer.

Continue reading about Walden’s 2018 Global Days of Service projects in Part 2 of our series.

––Jen Raider