Every Spring semester, graduating seniors in LFP participate in Senior
Leadership Capstone Projects. These projects allow students to practice
the leadership skills they have developed here at Eastern through
service to the surrounding community. Students make it their goal to
find a need in an off-campus organization. They then work to meet that
organization's need. This Spring 2019, students presented their projects
to the campus community.
While many there are many theories about how to approach leadership, the concept of servant leadership, as exemplified by Jesus, is one of the most intentional and comprehensive ways to lead. We modeled our approach and execution of our Capstone Project after this approach and were able to observe tangible, life-changing results. As a duo, we served Lancaster County Youth Intervention Center by distributing surveys to staff, collecting books to donate, hosting the residents for a college tour, creating a new program, and compiling a programming status report for the facility.
Lancaster County Youth Intervention Center (YIC) is a juvenile detention facility in Lancaster, PA. Its residents consist of justice-involved youth typically from ages 12-17. The detention side of the facility is for boys and girls who have committed violent crimes. The shelter side of the facility is for boys and girls who have committed non-violent crimes, status offenses, or are in need of temporary housing.
After analyzing the completed surveys and reflecting on our experiences work with the youth at YIC, we wanted to serve the residents to address four distinct needs. We determined that educational needs, personal development, vocational needs, and program development were four areas that we could address through our program and catered everything we did to address one or more of those needs.
Our project had five phases that we sought to accomplish. First, we distributed surveys to all of the staff at YIC and asked about the current status of programming and needs at the facility. While we were collecting survey results, we started collecting books to benefit the outdated library at the facility. We collected 449 books. We also initiated a program to give cooking lessons to the residents and talk about the value of community and lifestyle choices. We then compiled the surveys results and our experiences into a nine page comprehensive report which we gave to the program director. Finally, we hosted four residents for a college visit here at Eastern University. We incorporated many parts of our purpose into each of these tasks and were able to facilitate growth to meet the needs we observed.
One of the most important things we have learned from this experience is how much effort goes into servant leadership and how intentionality breeds significant impacts. We were able to observe and practice the amount of humility, patience, care, and love that servant leadership demands. Being able to communicate well and communicate often allowed us to serve the facility better and approach our project from a place of genuine concern for what they needed instead of what we thought they needed at YIC.
The purpose of our project was to collect warm, winter clothing for those experiencing scarcity in Philadelphia. There are an estimated 15,000 homeless people (including families) in the Philadelphia area, many of which do not have access to proper winter attire. Through a partnership with Broad Street Ministries, our project will have provided over 350 items of clothing for those in need.
Broad Street Ministries is a broad-minded faith community that helps Philadelphia's living in deep poverty stabilize their lives through a unique offering of meals and social services that is welcoming to everyone.
The purpose of Chilly Philly was to collect warm, winter clothes for homeless males in Philadelphia.
Our project consisted of reaching out to family members, posting on social media, and gathering clothes from those willing to donate. Our efforts will give hundreds of people warm clothing at no cost.
Our biggest takeaway from this project is that impact service project do not have to be difficult or cumbersome. We utilized our natural skills and were able to outreach, collect, and donate extremely effectively.