Community Learning Lab is just that...

By Erica Quednau |

Published 12/04 2013 04:55PM

Updated 12/04 2013 06:30PM

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS -- A new class at UI is mixing studies with service. It's called the Community Learning Lab. Students get internship experience while organizations around Urbana-Champaign get extra help. WCIA-3's Erica Quednau fills us in.

This is the first year for the program. The first semester of the pilot program ends in a few weeks. Students are broken up into groups then sent into the community to help.

A few came to Franklin Middle School. UI students from the School of Social Work are stepping out of the bubble known as campus.

"Sometimes I think we get so wrapped up in, just like, being on campus, that we kind of forget about all the other things that are going on throughout our community."

But, more than 200 organizations around CU are proving that's not true.

"The project we're doing is raising money to buy 3-inch zipper binders for the students."

Morgan Tarter is just one of the students assigned to her at Franklin Middle School. The goal is to help low-income students get the school supplies they need.

"Before we started this project, myself included, our group didn't really know that there was a need for this in our community."

Another need less than a mile away.

"This place allows their caregivers to put them in for a day if they need to get something done and it gives them more interaction with people."

Lee Luther and Elizabeth Kmet are working at Circle of Friends.

"We've been grant writing to find funds for identification jewelry. A lot of these adults are at risk for wandering."

"That's a bracelet for individuals who have dementia or Alzheimer's, can wear and, through that, they have identification, their picture, their birthday, where they live, who to contact, just in case they wander off and get lost."

A life lesson learned with each person they help.

"I think it's fabulous idea. It's worked out well from what I understand for a lot of different organizations. I feel like it's working out very well for Franklin."

"It's been really great to be able to be a part of the community, helping out the community, and just learning more about our community in general."

Franklin Middle School Fundraiser:
Mike N Molly's
Doors open: 8 pm
Event: 9 pm
3 live performances

Proceeds will help buy binders for Franklin Middle School students

Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Featured Business