Healthy Girls Save the World continues impact

HGSW  2013When Camille McGirt received a Robert E. Bryan Social Innovation Fellowship to start Healthy Girls Save the World (HGSW), she knew that she wanted to make a difference in the lives of young girls, but she had no idea how many lives she would impact. Now in its second year, HGSW is moving forward teaching even more girls age 8-15 the importance of a healthy lifestyle. It’s 2013 summer experience themed “The Small Things Matter: How Small Changes Can Make Big Improvements” focused on teaching girls how to make smart health goals. They pledged to accomplish small daily goals like drinking more water, eating less candy and being active for at least 30 minutes each day.

“As part of this year’s program, we integrated our new all-star circuit, created by HGSW staff, as a mechanism for girls to get more physically active,” said McGirt. “Many people do not have access to (or time to access) gyms, recreation areas, tracks and other facilities to engage in physical activity. The HGSW circuit is composed of eight exercises (squats, planks, push ups, lunges, jump rope, jogging, ab-toe touches and jumping jacks) all of which can be completed inside the comfort of your home or garage.”

During the weeks activities, HGSW participants also visited the Carolina Campus Community Garden to learn about growing their own food and composting. Finding small ways to engage young girls in more activity builds on the basic goal to promote healthy bodies, healthy minds and healthy relationships for girls.

Learn more about Healthy Girls Save the World online and on Facebook. To learn more about the Bryan Social Innovation Fellowship (BSIF), visit BSIF online.


Buckley Public Service Scholars Class of 2013

Two hundred and fifty-eight members of the class of 2013 Buckley Public Service Scholars were honored Friday, May 10, at a ceremony in Memorial Hall. Learn more about each scholar and their achievements.


Ninth class of UNC Buckley Public Service Scholars honored at graduation event

Read the Buckley Public Service Scholars Graduate Bulletin:

BPSS Grad Bulletin - 2013 Cover Image

View pictures from the 2013 Buckley Public Service Scholars graduation:

APPLES intern aims to relieve hunger through Local Farmer’s Market donations

By Karen Obando ‘13

P1030373 This spring, the APPLES Service-Learning program continues toconnect UNC students with local community organizations through its internship program. Ayla Pettry ‘13 is currently serving as an APPLES spring intern at Farmer Foodshare, a nonprofit organization dedicated to relieving hunger and malnutrition in North Carolina. By collaborating with other organizations that similarly aim to reduce the cost of fresh, local food products and increase access to these foods, Farmer Foodshare impacts many community members that are currently living with hunger and lack access to nutritious foods.

Pettry has particularly taken an active role in the Farmer Foodshare Market’s Donation Station initiative, volunteering weekly at the Eno River Farmer’s Market in Hillsborough (currently one of 11 active locations). All food and monetary donations collected are used to provide and buy local foods for communities in need.

“It’s the best part of my week. As I stand there, surrounded by the booths of a close-knit group of farmers, I never cease to be amazed by the sheer generosity of people. While many of them don’t live lives of opulence, they give what they can – and believe me, every dollar helps,” said Pettry.

On average 60 pounds of donated food is collected at Eno River Farmer’s Market and distributed to six families living in the area who lack access to adequate and nutritional foods. Pettry emphasized that the donation program has been an essential component of her internship at Farmer Foodshare, but she has also contributed her efforts to other aspects of the organization and learned about how the nonprofit operates to target these community needs.

P1030371Pettry cited the importance of the course component of the internship, which serves as a meaningful
way to reflect upon her direct service work withFarmers Foodshare. The classroom offers a forum for discussions about the issues of hunger and malnutrition, as well as other important social justice issues that other interns have encounter in their experiences with the nonprofits.

“The course provides a context for many of the social justice issues that we are dealing with in our internships. In the case of Farmer Foodshare, I have been able to come to a better understanding of the many factors that combine to allow for food poverty in America. I feel as if the academic component of my APPLES internship is a valuable addition to my experience, adding depth to the work that I do and reinforcing the positive impact that I can have on the world around me.”

Service-Learning Initiative connects first-years with Carolina community

The initial few days on campus for first-year students can be overwhelming, making it difficult to connect to the larger university community. Immersing students in public service to ease that transition is what the Service-Learning Initiative (SLI) is all about. Rani Reddy ‘15 says that participating in SLI helped her find her way and become more involved with service at Carolina.

“[SLI] was meaningful to me because I appreciated being with a group of incoming first-year students who were as interested in service as I was,” said Reddy. Meeting new friends and making community connections was so important to Reddy that the following year she took her involvement a step further, becoming an SLI site-leader and serving as a co-leader for SLI’s alternative fall break experience.

healthy girlsReddy’s work with SLI allowed her to expand her leadership skills and led her to better understand the importance of UNC’s connection with the local nonprofit community. Learning that early was key, allowing her to give back to the community and helping her get the most out of her UNC experience.

“My favorite part about working with APPLES Service-Learning Initiative was being able to take a leadership role in planning the fall break experience and developing a close relationship with my co-leader. I like that I can give back to an organization that has helped me gain a better footing
on UNC’s large campus.”

~ Rani Reddy, Service-Learning Initiative site leader

Seventeen individuals, groups honored for public service

University Gazette

Engaging young girls in healthy lifestyles, promoting interventions against interpersonal and relationship violence, and addressing the critical need for clean water are just a few of the public service projects the University honored during the March 26 awards ceremony hosted by the Carolina Center for Public Service. Seventeen individuals and organizations received honors.

“The breadth and depth of the efforts of these students, faculty, staff and University units exemplify UNC’s commitment to public service and engagement,” said Lynn Blanchard, center director. “The work they have done upholds the tradition of connecting the University’s mission of teaching, research and service to addressing practical problems, and we are proud to honor them.”

Stephen Caiola, associate professor in the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, received the Ned Brooks Award for Public Service in recognition of his more than four decades of service through UNC Hospitals and the pharmacy school. His role at Carolina “is one of fulfilled service to others, largely through extending health care to every city and town across the state and beyond,” a nominator said.

Named for Brooks, a Carolina faculty member and administrator since 1972, the award recognizes a faculty or staff member who has built a sustained record of community service through individual efforts and has promoted the involvement and guidance of others.

After establishing the clinical pharmacy program at UNC Hospitals, Caiola worked with Orange Chatham Comprehensive Health Service to improve health care for the underserved in the community. He also involved pharmacy students as charter members of the Student Health Action Coalition, the oldest health affairs student-run clinic in
the country.

The center presented three Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Awards honoring service through teaching, research and partnerships:

  • Patricia S. Parker, associate professor of communication studies, was recognized for her work to provide students with an opportunity to apply classroom knowledge in a real-world setting;
  • Rebecca J. Macy, associate professor in the School of Social Work, was honored for her work on interpersonal and relationship violence, especially in promoting safety and recovery from the trauma of violence; and
  • The Project GRACE Consortium was recognized for its work to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in African-American communities.

Five people and one organization received Robert E. Bryan Public Service Awards in recognition of their exemplary public service efforts:

  • Judith Blau, professor emeritus of sociology, was recognized for founding the Human Rights Center of Chapel Hill and Carrboro through her service-learning classes and connections with other campus organizations;
  • Barbara Renner, library services evaluation specialist with the Health Sciences Library, was recognized for expanding the reach of the YOUR HEALTH radio program, produced by the Department of Family Medicine;
  • Camille McGirt, a senior majoring in health policy and management in the Gillings School of Global Public Health, was recognized for her work with Healthy Girls Save the World, which promotes healthy bodies, minds and relationships for young girls in the area;
  • Meriwether Evans, a law student, was recognized for her work with the Pro Bono Program, ensuring that people without economic or political means can pursue legal claims and rights;
  • Charlotte Stewart, a law student, was recognized for her work to help found the Orange County Homeless Court, a statewide Veterans Legal Resource Network and the ACLU Voting Rights Education Project; and
  • The Campus Y committee Helping Youth by Providing Enrichment was recognized for its work to promote education to underserved students in the local area.

The Ronald W. Hyatt Rotary Public Service Award, named for the late professor of exercise and sport science and longtime member of the Chapel Hill Rotary Club, honors projects that represent the “service above self” motto of Rotary International.

A Drink For Tomorrow received the award for its work to raise funds and awareness for the global water crisis through Las Cocas Sustainable Water Project in Peru.

Students connect with the community during alternative winter break

The winter break is typically a time when students relax and go home to visit family and friends. But for a dedicated group of students participating in APPLES Service-Learning’s alternative winter break, the idea of rest and relaxation was replaced by a desire to serve others. A group of 10 students ventured to Pembroke, N.C. to serve and learn about rural poverty. Over the course of the five-day trip, they worked with community partners to learn more about the realities and solutions to poverty in a rural setting.

As a co-leader of the alternative break group, Alyssa Wadding ’15 gained valuable experience working with her fellow students and passionate community partners. “This trip taught me a lot about what it means to be a leader and it really opened my eyes to the possibilities of what can be accomplished through teamwork and persistence.”

Alternative break experiences provide students an opportunity to engage in efforts to elevate a social issue by engaging in service in a specific community. Students apply what they are learning, about rural poverty, at different sites in the area through direct and indirect service and advocacy work. The impact students end up making spreads deeper as strong and sustainable partnerships are built with the community partners that students work with during their trips.

Wadding appreciated the relationship built among the alternative break group and the community partners. Between meetings with community members, doing direct service work at the local Boys and Girls Club and a food pantry, and learning about the community’s culture, a lasting bond was formed with community partners. “I had the opportunity to work with many amazing people who came together to form a family that shared many meaningful experiences. I couldn’t have asked for better or more passionate community partners.”

A very special aspect of the alternative break process is the reflection portion of each trip. Students spend time reflecting upon their learning experiences both during the trip and following the students’ return. Wadding enjoyed the reflection process because it allowed her time to take a step back and really think about what she experienced each day and how it related back to her purpose for being on the trip. “With the whirlwind of activities it is easy to get caught up in just making it to the next event, so reflections added another dimension to the overall experience and they were definitely worthwhile.”

Buckley Public Service Scholar Alex Borgen turns service work into a career

Alex Borgen’s work with Nourish International began during his junior year at Carolina and is taking him on a career path helping to combat poverty worldwide.

The 2012 graduate and Buckley Public Service Scholar snagged an internship with Nourish International, a nonprofit that started on the UNC campus, through which college students make a sustainable change on extreme poverty worldwide.

Borgen continued the internship until graduating, then took a job in Nourish’s headquarters in Carrboro, N.C., as a development associate. A double major in political science and communications studies at Carolina, Borgen says that the job enables him to gain more experience than most entry-level jobs.

While his main duties center on writing proposals for grants and partnerships with foundations and corporations, Borgen says he also does research into possible sources of financial support and revenue and helps manage a database that is crucial to fundraising.

Through his job, Borgen enables teams of college students from local Nourish chapters at 29 U.S. universities to work around the world on projects ranging from providing a source of clean drinking water for a community in Peru to improving marketing for a women’s cooperative in Turkey. Nourish students have completed 65 projects with 45 communities in 25 countries. The chapters support their projects through social enterprise ventures, including Hunger Lunches sold at the universities.

He draws on his Carolina education while on the job, and is itching to use what he learned in the rhetorical studies track in his communications studies major. “I’ve not yet used what I learned there to do any lobbying for Nourish, but I do use a lot of the communications aspects every day,” he says.

In Nourish, the Raleigh, N.C., native sees a global impact, but he most appreciates the organization’s personal impact. “The thing that keeps drawing me back to Nourish is its community. The people who work here are of exceptional quality.”

“Nourish really invests in the people working here. It’s a small organization so we get to do more than we might in other entry-level jobs.”


Office of the Provost Award celebrates university-community partnership

As the nation’s first public university, Carolina has a long tradition of service to the state of North Carolina. Through the Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award, the Ned Brooks Award for Public Service and the Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Award, the University proudly recognizes outstanding engaged service and scholarship.

In 2012, the Center established an additional Office of the Provost Award to recognize an outstanding university-community partnership. The inaugural award honored the work of the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention’s Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) Core for focusing on problem solving through model collaborative relationships. Melvin Jackson, program director with Strengthening The Black Family, Inc. said, “In the last decade, UNC has been at the forefront in providing growing support for community-based organizations and leaders who have skills, knowledge and training to be equitable partners in community engagement.”

Alexandra Lightfoot, director of the CBPR Core added that CBPR Core’s project Community Engagement Consulting Models: Taking Them to Scale is a perfect example of responsiveness to community concerns and the development of strong community partnerships within its governance, community and intra-university units. “This award not only recognizes the value of engaged research; it also promotes the expertise of community partners in advancing the work of community-academic partnerships through community-based participatory research.”

“Our academies and communities have mutual visions, values and interests that are better served when we are working together, combining our resources and talents to improve our action and learning as we create a healthier, more just and caring North Carolina.”
~ Mac Legerton, executive director, Center for Community Action

BPSS participant and UNC student body vice president Rachel Myrick wins Rhodes Scholarship

Rachel Myrick

Rachel Myrick

(Daily Tar Heel)

Senior Rachel Myrick is happily rescinding all of her other graduate school applications after receiving news Saturday that she will be a Rhodes Scholar.

Myrick, who is a Morehead-Cain Scholar, Carolina Research Scholar and Carolina Public Service Scholar, is the 48th Rhodes Scholar from UNC.

The 32 American Rhodes Scholars of 2013 were selected from a pool of 838 candidates nominated by their colleges and universities.

“I knew it was such a long shot,” said Myrick, who is also the student body vice president.

“I got in the middle of so many graduate school applications because it was totally inconceivable that this was going to happen, but now that I’m canceling all of those applications, it’s a great feeling.”

Myrick said the notification process was delayed because of Hurricane Sandy.

The applications were due to the University the first week of school, and about a week and a half ago, Myrick received the invitation to attend the final round of interviews in Washington, D.C., this past weekend.

The two scholars for each of the 16 districts in the United States were announced in front of candidates and interviewers on Saturday.

“When I heard my name, I just froze. I was in total disbelief. We had already been waiting for three hours altogether, and I was preparing myself for thanking interviewers and congratulating candidates,” Myrick said.

Student Body President Will Leimenstoll said he could not think of a more deserving person to receive the Rhodes Scholarship than Myrick.

“She is completely qualified academically and socially, and she’s a good person at heart,” he said. “I’m glad to see it going to people who have worked hard for it and will do something positive with it.”

In a news release Sunday, Chancellor Holden Thorp congratulated Myrick.

“The Rhodes is a well-deserved honor for this exceptionally bright student, and it will provide even more opportunities for Rachel to make a difference in the world. 

Myrick said she became interested in applying for the scholarship while studying abroad in London her sophomore year.

She will obtain her M.Phil. in International Relations at the University of Oxford, which she hopes will lead to a Ph.D.

Patrick Snyder, a friend of Myrick’s since their freshman year of high school, said she tries to make a positive impact on everyone she meets.

“Coming to Carolina, I knew she was going to set herself up for greatness with her drive and motivation to be involved on campus and in the community,” Snyder said.

Myrick said she is grateful to her high school teachers who taught her to love learning — and the faculty and administrators at UNC who encouraged her to look into the opportunity.

“I think I’ve just had the help and support and encouragement of so many people along this road,” she said.

“It was a stressful process but totally worth it,” she said.

“I still don’t really think it’s sunk in.”

APPLES service-learning course writing student promotes benefits of UNC-Duke rivalry for local nonprofit

By Kacie Albert

(Chapel Hill News)

When I began my Writing for PR class at UNC this fall, I was bummed that I had to abandon my summer schedule of leisure.

I thought I would be working on my writing skills to produce quality written materials in fictional settings, which did not excite me. When I learned a component of my grade would require working for a local organization, BounceBack Kids, my excitement began to mount. I would actually be producing materials that would be used by a real entity.

I was excited because working with this organization would allow me to work within the realm of sport, my desired career field, which I had not been able to do in many of my general major classes. Despite my excitement I did not know much about BounceBack Kids outside of it being an organization that assists ill children through sports.

As my involvement progressed I discovered that BounceBack Kids not only raised money to provide free services to children with life-challenging illnesses, but that the money benefited their families and caregivers as well. This complete support provided by BounceBack Kids is unique. I know of few, if any, organizations who assist families within in a recreational environment like BounceBack Kids does.

Within BounceBack Kids I opted to work with the Duke-Carolina Student Basketball Marathon. While I picked the event solely based on the opportunity to produce pieces highlighting the Duke-Carolina rivalry, I came to recognize it as one of the most unique, exciting, and influential events that will take place at UNC this year.

The Duke-Carolina Student Basketball Marathon takes 28 teams of athletes from Duke and Carolina, who bitterly dislike one another, and puts them in a confined space for 15 hours competing in the highly contested sport of basketball.

Personally, I would never want to do that, and I do not know many people who would. However, this event makes you want to lace up your sneakers and be in tight quarters with Duke athletes for countless consecutive hours. While it may appear that the schools just want to beat one another both on the court and in the amount of funds raised, the event is very family friendly and works to highlight how Duke and Carolina students are able to set aside their storied rivalry in order to do good in the surrounding community.

BounceBack Kids, through the Duke-Carolina Student Basketball Marathon, is truly working to restore a rivalry to benefit a cause. Whether you are a die-hard Blue Devil, a Tar Heel born and bred, or somewhere in between, this event has something for you. Even if you don’t like basketball at all, you’re sure to enjoy the half-time show when the kids of BounceBack Kids, the beneficiaries of the event, perform!

This organization is doing great good in the community and this event is their prime fundraiser for the kids. I encourage you to come support the players, donate, or sponsor, every little bit helps!

The Duke-Carolina Student Basketball Marathon is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 17, from 9 a.m. until midnight in Rams Head Center and Plaza in the recreation center. All funds raised from the marathon will benefit BounceBack Kids. I hope to see you there!