Brief descriptions of five previously funded PSGC projects are below. These projects represent the diversity of projects received this academic year. These funded projects represent ongoing, thoughtful and impactful service projects led by students through service organizations, service-learning classes, and relationships with faculty advisors.
1) Good Samaritan Overdose Prevention Coalition
Project Overview: The Good Samaritan Overdose Prevention Coalition is a group of graduate students from the GW School of Law and the School of Public Health and Health Sciences. They used an advocacy approach to tackle the issue of drug overdose – the greatest cause of accidental death in the District of Columbia. The group created a strong coalition of supporting organizations, including the Drug Policy Alliance, Bread for the City, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive, HIPS in order to develop and promote legislation.
Project Outcomes:The students drafted legislation which was recently introduced as Bill B19-0754 in the DC Council. Using Commission funds, the students conducted an awareness campaign in support of the legislation, placing advertisements and distributing flyers. They have expanded their coalition to include more members and will continue the outreach and advocacy to pass this important legislation.
2) Edgewood Community Garden
Project Overview: The Edgewood Community Garden is a new project by a team of graduate students from the GW School of Public Health and Health Sciences aiming to combat obesity-related diseases in the Edgewood community of Washington, DC, a predominantly African American neighborhood in Ward Five. The GW students based their decision to work in this community upon uncovering research from The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) 2009 report data revealing that African Americans in Washington, DC report the highest rate of diagnosed diabetes by race. The team of GW students worked in collaboration with a neighborhood nonprofit, Friends of Edgewood Recreation Center, to promote and provide access to more local and healthy food while strengthening both the local community and the friendship between Edgewood and GW.
Project Outcomes: The students were awarded a DC Parks and Recreation work agreement signed on April 18, 2012. To date they have been able to accomplish the following with the use of commission funds:
• 4 raised garden beds, 22” high, 4 ft wide, 10 ft long.
• 5 volunteers assisted in building the frames for the garden beds on April 1
• 15 volunteers built the garden bed on April 14
• 25 volunteers participated in planting day on April 22
• Purchased vegetable seeds and vegetables to be transplanted into garden
3) Veteran Day of Service
Project Overview: The Veteran Day of Service was a one day service event for student veterans at higher education institutions in the DC region. The day of service supported the Ward Seven Parkside/Kenilworth community, a Promise Neighborhood Initiative community. The day is coordinated by GW’s Veterans Service Initiative which formed partnerships with the HSC Foundation, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, The Mission Continues, Team Rubicon and Pat Tillman Foundation to perform community service as a part of reengaging veterans in civic life following active military service.
Project Outcomes:Over 100 volunteers participated from ten different academic institutions and four different veteran service organizations accomplishing community beautification projects. Commission funds were used to provide for transportation and supplies to, from and for service sites. All volunteers were provided information on service opportunities including scholarships, fellowships and international relief efforts. At the TAPS service site, volunteers created 800 information kits for their National Gala. At Langdon Park, participants worked alongside neighborhood children who had never done community service before, and hauled over fifty bags of trash and litter out of the park.
4) The GW District Youth Empowerment Program
Project Overview: The District Youth Empowerment Program (DYEP) was formed three years ago as a GW Student Organization by undergraduate and graduate students in the GW School of Business. GW DYEP’s mission is to serve the disadvantaged, low-resourced, communities and groups in Washington, DC. GW DYEP’s mentoring program enlists current GW college students to serve as mentors for DCPS students on an ongoing basis throughout the school year. The program features partnerships with Maury Elementary After-School Program and the School without Walls High After-School Program.
Project Outcomes: GW DYEP’s Earth Day Celebration on Tuesday, April 17th 2012 brought together 75 high school students from the School without Walls, Maury Elementary After-School program, the privately-funded Polite Piggies After-School Care program, and students and staff from the George Washington University to do a park clean up and environmental planning projects aimed at curbing carbon footprints of DC residents. Commission funds helped provide materials for the day’s activities. GW DYEP continues to provide opportunities for students from the George Washington University to participate in programming that serves the larger District of Columbia community by utilizing a database that matches School without Walls’ students to GW DYEP tutors based on subject matter and providing mentorship opportunities to over 50 Maury elementary students throughout the academic year.
5) My Story with HIV
Project Overview: My Story with HIV is a project of Austin Center Program, the day treatment center of Whitman-Walker Health. A GW graduate student developed the ongoing collaboration as an initiative to engage the Austin Center members in sharing experiences of DC residents living with HIV through a collective, visual art project. The grantee is currently organizing an aesthetic layout for the mural, collecting all supplies necessary for project completion and constructing a schematic to ensure proper installation. The collaboration will provide a visual representation of the members’ lives and their experiences.
Project Outcomes: The project was awarded recently on April 5, 2012. The project has already conducted total of 20 art therapy sessions for the purpose of constructing the visual narrative. The sessions were directive-based to assist the members in focusing on moments in time including: periods of development for a life review, experience with HIV, and hopes for the future. Commission funds will provide materials that will be sued to create the visual art production.