The study and practice of writing with attention to audience, purpose, and conventions appropriate to a specific writing situation. This includes the reading, writing, and analyzing of a variety of texts (which may be written, digital, or visual).
- Professor Jonathan S. Cullick
Nearly every student at NKU completes a first-year writing course. After many years of teaching this course, I have experienced firsthand a basic truth: Helping students write effectively requires engaging them to care about what they are trying to communicate in writing.
In my ENG 101 Mayerson class, I teach the same skills as other writing courses but in the context of community needs. For example, in all sections of ENG 101, students complete a persuasive research project. They do the same in my class, but the topics and research are focused on the needs in northern Kentucky, and the persuasion they do is to advocate on behalf of the nonprofit of their choice. Ultimately, I want my students to discover that the ability to communicate effectively with writing is not only a personal good, leading to one’s own individual success, but also a public good, leading to the betterment of society.
Our course this semester was funded by the R.C. Durr Foundation, Inc. The students looked for nonprofits that are improving northern Kentucky neighborhoods and schools with the arts. I thank the R.C. Durr Foundation and Jean Mize of the foundation staff for supporting our mission to teach in the context of community engagement.
Adapted from a student essay in support of funding this agency.
Crayons to Computers was established in 1997 to allow teachers in the tri-state area to gather free school supplies for children in need.
According to the Crayons to Computers application, 16,924 teacher visits have resulted in the distribution over $8 million worth of school supplies to 608 schools, making a profound impact on eager minds.
The assistance changes the outlook of kids who were never offered a fair chance in
life. They are positively affected in both mental and physical ways.
There are a couple of different ways teachers have been able to access supplies:
The need for school supplies and educational materials continues - even if students are not in the classroom. As we continue to work to help students in need be successful in their education, uncertainty and rapid change have become the new normal!
The NKU/R.C.Durr Foundation grant of $1,000 makes a huge difference. Thank you!
The Crayons team is working to understand what the need looks like in this new,
unprecedented world. For example, we've heard from schools that have depleted their supplies while sending materials home for virtual learning and have asked Crayons for more items.
In just the first few days of this new normal, we have provided 45 schools with
supplies of 65 different items valued at more than $210,000. On behalf of teachers and their students in need, thank you.
Adapted from student essays in support of funding this agency.
The Center for Children and Families has dedicated over a century to providing a supportive, loving home for Northern Kentucky’s unfortunate children.
Established in 1848 as St. John’s Orphanage, the organization today focuses on children who have been placed in state-mandated, out-of-home care as a consequence of severe domestic maltreatment.
A variety of programs at the center help children, adolescents and young adults coming from traumatic backgrounds reintegrate in society.
To children who are met with such a fate, the center offers a shelter and personalized therapy. The children served by the center begin to shed the defensive shell they have built around them; in its stead, they acquire age appropriate skills and development, allowing them to ultimately cut off the clinging tendrils of a painful past and head toward a brighter future.
The center accompanies them still towards that future, arranging for foster homes and adoptive parents in whose arms the children will find security and love.
We care for children who have experienced unthinkable trauma, and we support loving families who foster and adopt children in need. On behalf those in our care,
our Board of Directors, and Leadership Team, thank you so much for this grant.
We're so pleased your students were able to learn more about our organization and
felt it worthy of investment. Support from the Mayerson Foundation and the R.C. Durr Foundation is vital to our mission and is especially needed right now.
Professor Cullick: It would be an understatement to say that this has been an unusual semester. Normally, we would have invited nonprofits to visit our class. Some students might even have asked to visit the nonprofits at their sites. We would have had lively discussion in class within and between community boards. With the COVID-19 situation, we could not do any of that.
As it happened in all other classes at NKU and across the nation, we suddenly found ourselves communicating with each other through the mediation of computer and cell phone screens. All of our Mayerson discussion and deliberation took place online. Our lively classroom gave way to an online discussion board. Instead of our anticipation as we waited in class for a small group of student "election officials” to count paper ballots, we used Qualtrics (an online survey).
And yet, still, somehow we made it work. I am proud of this group of students. Given the difficult circumstances, they took the process seriously and worked diligently.