Finding the most appropriate community organization or organizations to complement your service-learning course is vital to building a meaningful and sustainable partnership. We have worked with each community organization listed below to develop an opportunity description that captures each organization’s mission and needs, as well as examples of the types of service-learning activities your students could engage in. We invite you to browse through this list of potential community partners, each of whom have expressed interest in serving as a partner to a service-learning course. Please familiarize yourself with the process for Planning & Implementing a Service-Learning Partnership early in your service-learning course planning. Note that service-learning community partners can be 1) any nonprofit or public sector organization, agency, or institution, or 2) a private sector business or establishment that is under-served in the traditional market economy.
For faculty interested in partnering with Tennessee local governments on service-learning or engaged research projects, please reference the Smart Communities Initiative website and contact Kelly Ellenburg at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Find additional community partner leads on the Center for Leadership and Service’s Online Community Partner Listing.
Boys and Girls Club of Tennessee Valley (BGCTNV) serves over 5000 youth ages 5 to 17 all year round across four neighboring counties. They provide assistance and programming in the following core areas: Character and Leadership Development, Education and Career Development, Health and Life Skills, the Arts, and Sports, Fitness and Recreation. Each area offers a number of opportunities for service-learning faculty and students, with a diverse set of placements sites including schools, community clubs or organizations, public housing communities, and teen centers. BGCTNV is looking for a variety of students who can transfer their skills from the classroom to the organization. Specific BGCTNV departments which could enlist service-learners include Human Resources, Grant-Writing and Fundraising, Finance, Accounting and Information Management, Marketing, Resource and Development, and Operations. Faculty teaching courses in Finance, Early Childhood Education, Research and Assessment, Communication Studies, Journalism and Electronic Media, Advertising and Public Relations, and Kinesiology can find relevant and meaningful service-learning opportunities for their students here. Potential opportunities for service-learners at the Boys and Girls club include 1) working to diversify and strengthen their marketing strategies through various social media sits, 2) collecting data to help manage grants and other funding sources, 3) converting hard-copy financial data into digital form, 4) forming logistical and event planning groups to help manage fundraising events, and 5) volunteering for hands-on administrative work with Operations, and 6) teaching or tutoring youth. Contact Markus Jackson at email@example.com for more information.
The Vestal Boys and Girls Club (a branch of the BGCTV above) is seeking service-learning partnerships with faculty and co-curricular student volunteer assistance to provide academic mentoring for their youth. Mentoring is an ongoing need for the Vestal Boys and Girls Club, which serves 120 youth grades K-8th. The club needs mentors to work one-on-one with mentees as well as in small groups for at least an hour a week between the weekday hours of 3:00 and 6:30pm. Mentors are asked to be able to commit to service for at least one academic semester. Beyond academic assistance, other mentor-mentee activities could include sports, technology, arts and crafts, games, gardening, acting, dancing, music, or leadership training. All volunteers must complete a volunteer application which can then be returned by email, dropped by the Vestal Boys and Girls Club or taken to the administrative building for BGCTV (220 Carrick Street). For more information, contact Kara Strouse at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Centro Hispano de East Tennessee’s mission is to connect, integrate and empower the Latino community through education and engagement; information and referral services; and community strengthening initiatives. They are looking for:
- Spanish and World Business students or proficient Spanish-speaking students to assist with informational referrals or tutor students in basic literacy, elementary, and middle school education,
- Students from Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures to teach ESL (English as a Second Language) classes at different levels,
- Early Childhood Education or related majors to assist with the Child Development Program and tutor children ranging in ages from two to twelve (most of whom speak English well, so no Spanish required),
- Law students to support the legal clinics, consultations,
- Students in Journalism, Advertising, Graphic Design, Marketing, or related majors with who can help them with branding their organization and publicizing their work,
- Video and Photography students to make videos and photograph their facility and students (with permission) for marketing purposes,
- Retail, Hospitality and Travel Management students to partner with our fundraising committee in planning and executing events, and
- Seniors or graduate students from Social Work, Sociology, Psychology, Public Administration, or other related programs who can assist with connecting with community partners, mental health initiatives, and grant writing and research.
For more information, contact Centro Hispano at email@example.com.
Through its mission to inform, equip, and connect churches to transform lives and communities though the love of Christ, Compassion Coalition strives to connect and serve those in poverty through various paths of community involvement. Over 230 churches of different denominations from all over Knoxville, as well as a diverse mix of government agencies, other non-profit organizations, and individual partners participate in coalition activities. All work on the shared purpose of the well-being of the city. Compassion Coalition is seeking to partner with service-learning courses across disciplines who can assist in the following areas: (1) assist with administration of their Circle of Support mentoring program, a group-approach to mentoring for those coming out of homelessness; (2) design, construct, and conduct surveys for existing partner churches in order to improve programs and offerings; (3) connect and develop partnerships with new or less-connected churches, organizations, or individuals in support of Compassion Coalition’s mission; (4) assist with various preparation and implementation aspects of Compassion Coalition training events; (5) implement a marketing plan designed by a former volunteer partner (making any updates or revisions as needed); (6) staffing the Clearinghouse, a Knox County helpline for individuals and families in need; and (7) identify and develop fundraising opportunities such as grants, fundraising events, and leveraging of partnerships. Students should be prepared to commit to at least one semester of service. For more information, please contact Jessica Bocangel at Jessica@compassioncoalition.org or call (865) 251-1591, ext. 8.
The Dolly Parton Imagination Library (DPIL) is a unique early years book gifting program that operates under the Dollywood Foundation. The program mails a new, age-appropriate book to enrolled children each month from birth until five years of age, thus creating a home library of up to 60 books over the course of a child’s enrollment. DPIL strives to instill a love of reading from an early age, and foster a productive environment for early childhood literacy. DPIL seeking to partner with an upper-level or graduate course in the College of Business Administration or College of Communication and Information Sciences to improve their book projection accuracy rate, which currently stands at 95-96%. DLIP book inventory is supplied directly by order from Penguin Books. Production numbers must be advanced to Penguin six to seven months prior to distribution dates. DPIL does not warehouse books, therefore projection accuracy is of utmost importance. Faculty and students would work closely with the Dollywood Foundation Operations Manager (partially via phone or digital communication platforms) to consider potential variables predicting enrollment accuracy and to develop strategies to further maximize accuracy across their scope of over 700,000 recipients across the country. Students will integrate existing methods of projection analysis with creative methods to minimize margins of error. Contact Kelly Ellenburg at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about this opportunity.
Blacks in Appalachia
East Tennessee PBS is actively working to research, archive and raise the visibility of our region’s African-American history and contributions. Through this initiative we are seeking to identify local narratives with-in our broadcast footprint and bolster those histories through video, photographic documentation and material documentation. There are several areas in which our organization needs assistance in this long term project.
Social Media and Web Platform Development
Partnership Opportunities: Historic & Cultural Social Media Platform Development, Website building and design, Materials and multimedia cataloging, On-line map development
Educational Material Development
Partnership Opportunities: K-12 curriculum component development for one-line distribution
8th of August
Partnership Opportunities: Digitization and cataloging of Greeneville/Greene County resident-provided materials
Partnership Opportunities: Digitization and cataloging of Morristown College associated materials, Research on college feeder communities in and around Hamblen County
New Market & Reverend Hardgrave
Partnership Opportunities: Digitization and cataloging of materials associated with the Black communities of New Market and Jefferson County, Tennessee, Historic and newspaper research, digital mapping of community narratives, documentation of oral histories.
Find an expanded description of these projects here, and contact Kelly Ellenburg for further information.
Generations Literary Alliance (GLA) uses literary arts experiences to engage, empower, and connect older and younger generations, ultimately strengthening communities in our area as a result. LifeWords Reading Circles, the program for which they’re seeking a partnership, is a lifelong-learning initiative that uses the reading and discussion of literature to prompt discussion and build relationships between college students and adults 60+. Genres covered include short stories, nonfiction articles, novels, and poetry. GLA is seeking partnerships where students would participate in a LifeWords program for one semester along with a diverse group of older adults, some of whom may have varying levels of visual/auditory/cognitive impairment. Other partnership responsibilities might include: 1) researching the impact of intergenerational arts programing; 2) creating video content that profiles the LifeWords program and its students; 3) assisting in the development and implementation of marketing strategies; and 4) assisting LifeWords instructors in leading discussion sessions. GLA is particularly interested in working with graduate students in Adult Learning, English, Education, Social Work, and Marketing, but they also welcome proposals from other majors and with undergraduate students. The program meets once weekly at three locations in Knox and Blount Counties, and students will select one program to attend weekly, in addition to performing other agreed-upon responsibilities. For more information, please contact Laura M. Keigan, PhD, email@example.com.
Great Schools Partnership (GSP) is a non-profit organization that is committed to making Knox County Schools globally competitive. We accomplish this by starting programs that make an impact on student learning. One of these initiatives is Community Schools. Community Schools focus on public schools as a hub for organizing local resources to improve safety and student academic success. Vine Middle Magnet School is a community school and we are seeking volunteers to 1) tutor middle school students in math and reading 2) help assist in “electives” courses on any number of topics such as West African Dance, Art, Cooking, Fitness, GirlTalk, and 3) provide structure and supervision during dismissal. If there is another talent or gift you’d like to share with the students such as practical applications of your major, interests, skills, etc. feel free to let them know and how you’d like to serve! They currently work with UT students and are having great relationships, but still need more help!
Where: Vine Middle Magnet School (5 minutes from UT)
When: Afterschool (3:30-6:00) *flexible within this time frame*
Fine Print: Background checks are required but paid for by GSP, Recommended 2-3 hour commitment per week for a minimum of 12 weeks
Contact Kendra Berry at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
GSP at New Hopewell Elementary Community School is seeking long term and short term service-learning placements.
Long-term opportunities: We ask for 45 minutes to 1 hour once a week. Our biggest long-term need at NHCS is for Tutors on Tuesday and Thursday from 3-4pm. These look like mentorships with an added academic bonus. Don’t want to tutor? Come help run our track club, our art club, play with our soccer team, or be a mentor to one of our 4th grade boys. Students can also come during the day and be an ongoing reading buddy, math buddy, or just have lunch with a kid who needs a friend. We are also in need of a Boy Scout leader! Have a passion you’d like to share? We’d love to learn more about your juggling, baseball prowess, or whatever makes your heart sing. Teach the kids anything from Spanish to volleyball – we’re flexible.
Short-term opportunities: We have lots of ways for you to get involved at our community school even if you can’t make the 1 hour, once a week commitment Come be a tutor assistant, an art class helper, a soccer volunteer, or tutor a kid one afternoon. Students begin arriving at 7am and we have programming that runs until 6pm each weekday. Don’t like kids? That’s OK… Help out our teachers by making copies, working in our garden, or assisting the development of our outdoor trail. Want to work on a project solo or in a small group? Be a project lead or project assistant – More info on that below.
To get started, please visit http://www.greatschoolspartnership.com and go to the “Volunteer” Tab. Under “Community Schools” click “Individuals” and select the option “I already know what I want to volunteer for and am here to submit a Volunteer Information Form.” Got questions? Email our Site Coordinator, Janine Al-Aseer at email@example.com or call/text her at 706-832-7543.
Green Hills Learning Center (GHLC), a member of the HUD Neighborhood Networks, offers a range of programs and services aimed at helping those in need to achieve a life of self-sufficiency. GHLC serves people of all ages in the Green Hills Apartment complex, a low-income subsidized housing facility. They offer afterschool activities, computer classes, job readiness training, public internet access, parenting resources, youth educational and recreation workshops, nutrition classes and pre-school preparation activities for toddlers. GHLC programs include the Summer Feeding Program, nutrition workshops for youth, and “Sister to Sister,” a monthly women’s fellowship meeting where women can share personal goals, encouragement, support, and a good laugh. In addition to its programs and services, GHLC convenes monthly Neighborhood Watch meetings, where the residents work together to promote health, safety, and opportunity for the Green Hills community. The Center is seeking students from all majors to work with youth in a variety of capacities to include: 1) tutoring, homework assistance, educational games and activities, facilitating and overseeing maintenance of their community garden, and 2) leading enrichment activities such as arts and crafts, music, singing, culinary arts, acting, cultural heritage/diversity, dance, photography and sports , 3) facilitating individual and group discussions and workshops addressing the following topics: college preparedness, time management, nutrition and healthy lifestyles, fitness, emotional coping skills, relaxation and meditation techniques, counseling (individual, family and sand/play therapy), and conflict resolution, and 4) assisting with organizational needs including programming and event planning, grant writing and capacity building, building a website and marketing and social media, and 5) tutoring for adults for GED preparation. Contact Kelly Ellenburg at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
With 300 acres of land, Ijams Nature Center provides one of the largest teaching sites for urban wilderness education, quarries, plant life, wildlife and land. Ijams is well known for its hiking, biking, and bird watching trails as well as its education programs such as “Knoxville’s Original Owl Prowl!” and “Haunted Lantern Tours.” Located in South Knoxville, Ijams offers a variety of programming and outdoor activity for all ages and hosts events year-round. Ijams’ staff has experience collaborating with UT faculty, individual student volunteers, interns, and large groups. They are interested in expanding their partnerships through course-based service-learning across a variety of disciplines, and have the following opportunities available: 1) agriculture and related courses who can oversee projects to maintain and upkeep herbal and edible gardens, contain invasive species, and develop their new rainwater site 2) first-year studies and similar courses that can design short-term efforts around trail, park, and garden maintenance (ideally tied to content material such as the Life of the Mind book, Eaarth, 3) business courses who can work with their development department on grants, fundraising, and organizational development, 4) landscape architecture students who can develop conceptual plans for their nature play area for children, 5) graphic design and photography students who can take photos at events and design marketing materials, 6) composition and public writing students to create educational materials for the public, and 7) environmental sociology, statistics, or information sciences students who can conduct environmental education impact research and develop data reports, and 8) education and related majors to work with their youth programs or design age-appropriate educational activities for youth. Contact Lauren Bird at email@example.com for more information.
Impact America – Tennessee engages college students and recent college graduates to address community needs, empowering a generation through collaborative efforts to promote change in the communities we serve. Through its FocusFirst Initiative, Impact America – Tennessee works to ensure that children in urban and rural communities receive comprehensive vision care during their crucial formative years by providing free, high-tech vision screenings and access to free follow-up care, including eye exams, glasses, surgery, or other treatment for children who need it. FocusFirst is seeking student volunteers and class project partnerships to assist with vision screenings in Knox and surrounding counties. Impact America – Tennessee will schedule vision screenings with daycares, preschools, and Head Start centers and work with students and professors to coordinate dates to assist with screenings. Participating students must have availability to leave campus for two or more hours on weekday mornings in order to assist with screenings. For more information, contact Stirling Hutchins, FocusFirst Expansion Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kickstand is a community bicycle collective located at 1323 N. Broadway Knoxville, 37917, in the basement of the 4th United Pres Church. They assist people of all ages, many of whom have no means of acquiring a bicycle, and help community members learn to maintain and repair their bikes. KickStand is interested in a variety of service-learning partnerships with UT faculty across areas of Environmental Studies, Engineering, Education, Business, Journalism, Marketing, and majors dealing with non-profit management. In addition to volunteer mechanics to help teach clients about bike maintenance and repair, KickStand also needs a variety of capacity building services such as:
1) community outreach, needs assessments and research
2) development of processes to track grant outcomes
3) development of organizational policy and operation manuals for staff and volunteers regarding administration, safety procedures, etc.
4) updating the inventory system for bikes and bike parts
A small but growing community organization, Kickstand is eager to work with service-learners who are proactive and sensitive to community needs. Contact Paul Laudeman at email@example.com and see kickstandknoxville.wixsite.com/kickstand for more info.
Play basketball. Go fishing. Read together. The Knoxville Leadership Foundation is looking for good people who will walk alongside the youth of Knoxville who are at-risk. We’re focused on youth (ages 4-17) who have been impacted by incarceration of a parent, have some personal involvement in the juvenile court or are generally in need of some extra support. Do you have students who are drawn to help this type of youth? We call these people mentors.
We are looking for future mentors who are…
- Interested in helping an at-risk youth reach their potential
- Capable of being a positive role model, trusted adult friend, and nurturer of possibilities
- Available to invest the time necessary to develop a relationship. (suggested 4-6hrs/mo for 12+mo)
Dedicated individuals can make a positive impact by mentoring in a 1 to1 relationship, or in a group setting.
Contact Mike Jacobs @ KLF to start the conversation! firstname.lastname@example.org | 865-524-2774
Knox Area Rescue Ministries provides biblically-based emergency, transitional, and residential recovery services for the homeless, poor, and needy, serving nearly 1,000 meals daily and sheltering nearly 400 men, women and children each night. KARM’s focus is Rescue + Relationships = Restoration. Rescue, through meeting basic needs of food and shelter, combined with the support and encouragement of positive relationships in the likeness of Christ, helps pave the way for long term restoration to God, self, family and community. Our goal is to restore people to healthy and independent lives, thus breaking the cycle of unemployment and homelessness. Possible service learning opportunities at KARM include, but are not limited to: development of marketing/recruiting strategy, social work projects (direct service with the homeless population: adults, families, addiction, mental illness), community health research and screenings, demographic analysis, energy and cost efficiency research projects, landscape or interior design projects, teaching/educational opportunities, nutrition education/awareness. Contact email@example.com for more information.
Legal Aid of East Tennessee’s mission is to ensure equal justice for elderly, abused, and low income persons, providing a wide range of civil legal assistance and advocacy. LAET is in need of help in a variety of areas, including marketing/branding, development, grant solicitation, proposal development, and project coordination. Contact Dave Yoder, Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
L&N STEM Academy is a secondary magnet school which operates out of Knoxville’s historic Train Depot building in World’s Fair Park. Their curriculum model is based on the renowned Stanford Design School, which aims to develop transdisciplinary methodologies by which to take on a range of multi-faceted problems. L&N’s integrated curriculum is delivered through project-based instruction targeted toward developing students’ abilities to make connections, work in teams, ask questions, gather and interpret information, evaluate sources, draw meaningful inferences, and defend their conclusions. The school aspires to be an agent of transformative change in STEM education, modeling the use of design principles as a means of creating solutions. L&N faculty deliver inquiry-based instruction challenging students to solve real world problems and develop critical thinking skills. Students use digital technologies, communication tools, and networks to access, apply, and evaluate information as citizens in a knowledge economy. L&N is open to working with UT faculty and students in a variety of ways, including through service-learning. Faculty interested in teaching service-learning classes can work with L&N’s Dean, Mark Smith, to partner with their faculty. L&N students are available to come to campus and meet with UT students during regular class hours as well. L&N and UT faculty can work together to determine appropriate problem-based-learning projects and allow student groups composed of students from both schools to work together at researching, analyzing, and testing methods for addressing these. Partnerships can also be undertaken in conjunction with community organizations whose work relates to the project. Contact Mark Smith, L&N Dean, at email@example.com for more information. Mark is also willing to visit units during scheduled seminar meetings to discuss possibilities for partnership.
The Love Kitchen provides meals, clothing, and emergency food packages to homebound, homeless and unemployed persons. The work with local agencies to provide meals, secure used clothing, and donate services in the hope of promoting self-sufficiency to those they serve. The organization has no paid staff; all donations go to those who need it most. Their ultimate goal is to provide nourishment for anyone who is hungry and to establish a community center to serve as a safe haven supporting area children and their families. The Love Kitchen is interested in engaging service-learning students from all disciplines to prepare and deliver meals. The meals are delivered on Thursday afternoons and a route usually takes about an hour to complete. The Love Kitchen is also interested in engaging upper-level and/or graduate students from Social Work, Nutrition, Public Health, Sociology, Human Resource Management, Marketing, and other disciplines who can help the organization apply for grants and/or generate donor funds as they transition from a volunteer staff model to a fully functional non-profit. Volunteer sign-up can be done online here. Students interested in grant-writing or development work can contact Patrick or Jean at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Narrow Ridge Earth Literacy Center is a non-profit organization founded in the 1970s by Bill Nickle, a long-time environmental educator and activist. Protecting 500 acres of undeveloped land in southern Appalachia, including 150 acres of wilderness, Narrow Ridge’s vision of sustainability and justice “for all that makes up Earth” is rooted in three cornerstones: sustainability, community, and spirituality. Narrow Ridge hosts a variety of experiential learning programs such as “green” workshops, alternative spring breaks, and sustainable living and natural immersion experiences with college and university students from throughout the southeast. Leading by example, Narrow Ridge has been “off the grid” since 1991 and demonstrates alternative ways of living through sustainable practices such as the use of solar power, composting toilets, and straw bale construction. Narrow Ridge also hosts a variety of community events such Yoga, Film Nights, Music Jams, and a local fall festival, Hogskin History Day. Narrow Ridge believes in mutual and communal learning experiences. With a place-based approach and emphasis on bioregionalism, Narrow Ridge offers service-learning opportunities for 1) agriculture, forestry, or plant sciences students to maintain the grounds, trails, gardens, and orchards, to develop natural strategies for control of invasive species and insect pests, and to research honey bee hive death and disease in our bioregion 2) architecture students to create design plans to refurbish old structures using sustainable materials or to create a new Earth shelter using a cob and/or cordwood design, 3) landscape architecture students to test approaches to rainwater harvesting, to design a system for a plant based digester of grey water, to assist with the design and construction of a labyrinth, and to design and create attractive native plant landscaping at the Narrow Ridge Natural Burial Preserve, 4) graphic design or marketing students to produce creative and accessible handouts, flyers, and other media that promote Narrow Ridge programs and events as well as educational materials on issues of consumption, food systems, simple living, and alternative energy, 5) environmental studies students to examine the pollution of springs, wells and streams with particular attention to cattle waste and septic tank/drain field pollution, 6) social science students to conduct research studies for Hogskin History Day in an effort to create simple visual displays that educate on eco-sociological issues (e.g. “Why buy local?”, “Why fair trade?”, “Why not buy bottled water?”, etc.) and to engage in community based research such as an oral history project, 7) business or marketing students to help create and/or implement fundraising proposals, research grant funding, or perform clerical and managerial projects specific to non-profit work, 8) film studies, history, or journalism students to record and document oral histories of the local people, the history of Narrow Ridge, a video tour of Narrow Ridge eco-facilities and/or trails, 9) students interested in eco-spirituality or eco-psychology (i.e. psychology/health sciences, religious studies/humanities) to assist with maintenance of the wilderness trail to the Sacred Stones, meditation labyrinth and/or sweat lodge, 10) information science or related majors who can convert Earth literacy movement archives to more modern media files, assist with Narrow Ridge website and social media. Additional cross-discipline opportunities include conducting research on how to diversify the Narrow Ridge land trust project, build local awareness of the Earth literacy movement, and create resources to recruit and train volunteers. Contact Mitzi Wood-Von Mizener at email@example.com for more information.
Redeeming Hope Ministries’s (RHM) mission is to assist people in economic poverty through advocacy and helping them access the fundamental needs of life. In 2009 RHM received its 501c3 status as a non-profit, allowing it to grow structurally while maintaining the personal approach that is so central to its mission. They have two flagship projects: Food in the Fort and The Amplifier. Food in the Fort (FIF) is geared toward pursuing food justice issues by providing healthy food options through Market Days, where groceries, fresh produce, and cooking seminars are made available. FIF also promotes community building through luncheons on their Café Days. The Amplifier (Amp), a RHM produced newspaper, works toward advocating for systemic change by highlighting and educating the public on the social issues that affect the homeless while simultaneously working to dismantle the negative stereotypes associated with being homeless. Additionally, RHM partners with local shelters and crisis prevention centers to connect their clients to other services. While they have recurring volunteer needs, opportunities for more indirect capacity-building work is available. They are looking for service-learners who can commit to their holistic model of support and advocacy. Opportunities include 1) english and journalism students who can write for The Amp, 2) business students who can develop a non-profit business plan or who can work directly with the Amp’s vendors to develop incentive strategies for selling the paper, 3) nutrition or agriculture students who can assist in meal planning, cooking food, and conducting research projects on topics such as diet and mental illness, 4) nutrition students who can develop resources such as a seasonal cooking book for the organization, 5) environmental studies or agricultural students who could serve as garden interns for their garden plot at Beardsley’s Farm, 6) sociology and environmental studies students who can develop social advocacy campaigns around poverty and social justice, and 7) marketing and statistics students who can develop usable data from research to help in grant proposals and fundraising. These are just a few examples, but RHM staff welcomes partnerships from faculty and students across a variety of disciplines including public health, human resource management, graphic design (web development), photography, and social work. Contact Eddie Young at firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee, a member of Feeding America and partner of United Way, is the region’s largest hunger-relief charity. Serving 18 counties across East Tennessee, they provide assistance to families through local partnerships with food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, churches, and schools. Second Harvest also delivers food directly to clients in cases where a partner organization is not available to facilitate. Committed to not only hunger relief but also nutrition, they work to provide healthy food choices and education to the communities they serve. Second Harvest is seeking student-volunteers from across disciplines, who are interested in poverty and its link to hunger and health, and committed to their cause. Students in Public Health, Nutrition, Political Science, Sociology, Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management, and Child and Family Studies may be well suited to serve with Second Harvest. Service-learning opportunities could include 1) building capacity through marketing strategies, creating a more intentional social media presence, 2) fundraising, event planning, and grant writing, 4) traveling with staff to conduct qualitative and quantitative research on the impact of Second Harvest’s services on clients and partner organizations, 5) assessing the nutritional value of food supplies and offering dietary recommendations for specific groups such as children and the elderly, 6) processing donated food, including performing quality checks, date checks, sorting, and labeling for distribution, and 7) developing policy papers as a part of a larger advocacy campaign. Contact Greg LaRose at email@example.com for more information.
Through a grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program provides homelessness prevention services and case management for veterans in 20 counties in East Tennessee through the Knoxville and Morristown offices. The SSVF program connects veterans with benefits such as vocational and rehabilitation counseling, job training and educational assistance, health care services, transportation, legal assistance, child care, and other services. They are seeking service-learning students across majors to help them expand their web presence, identify strategies for reaching homeless veterans across 20 counties with information and services, work with their staff to update and refine professional consultation services, help expand their organizational partner base, conduct workplace assessments of SSVF operations and recommend strategies for increased effectiveness, create materials or develop programs for the public addressing homeless veterans, or help organize their annual Stand Down event. They are also open to designing projects with faculty where students work with a network of organizations that serve veterans and the homeless, through projects such as identifying factors contributing to inability to escape homelessness, identifying gaps in area services for this population, and writing policy papers recommending changes to better serve homeless or near-homeless veterans. Contact Carla Kimble at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Tennessee Interfaith Power and Light’s (TNIPL) mission is aimed at addressing climate change through upholding the sacredness of all life, protection of vulnerable communities, and caring for the Earth. It is the state affiliate of faith communities collectively making up the national Interfaith Power and Light network. TNIPL provides resources to help faith communities respond to severe environmental changes and offers opportunities to advocate for climate protection policies through education and their faith tradition of sustaining creation. TNIPL is seeking a student who can work closely with their area volunteer director on enhancing the design and presentation of its website using a WordPress platform. The position entails using strategic and creative design to improve the functionality and capability of the site, as well as working with the director on content management. Potential candidates must be experienced in WordPress web development and be familiar with web management and design principles. TNIPL is open to having students work out of the office, meeting regularly with the director via Skype to coordinate work projects. Contact Louise Gorenflo at email@example.com for more information.
Thrive Lonsdale (formerly known as SOAR Youth Ministries) is a faith-based after school and summer program that serves 1st through 8th grade students from the Lonsdale area through tutoring and mentoring. Thrive is seeking volunteers to 1) tutor elementary and middle school students through academic enrichment programs; 2) engage in educational activities such as extra reading or academic games; 3) teach “electives” courses on any number of topics such as music, dance, karate, art, cooking, etc; and 4) provide, prepare, and dinner for the kids. If there is another talent or gift you’d like to share with the students such as practical applications of your major, interests, skills, etc. feel free to let them know how you’d like to serve! They currently work with UT students through the Center for Leadership and Service, and re having great experience with our students, but still need more help! Contact Clare Norvet at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
The University-Assisted Community Schools Program at Pond Gap Elementary School is part of the national UACS initiative. This is an effort on behalf of public universities across the nation to enhance K-12 student achievement and decrease achievement gaps by addressing students’ needs in a comprehensive, full-service manner. The UACS model focuses on the school as a “hub” for community engagement and democratic development in low-income areas. The UACS at Pond Gap emphasis areas include pre-school and kindergarten readiness, comprehensive adult support (housing, legal aid, etc.), afterschool academic support/enrichment, parent involvement, and extended education (adult ESL classes, GED preparation, etc.). They are seeking 1) students of all majors to work with their kids in a variety of capacities (service experiences are customizable), and 2) students to take on capacity-building projects such as neighborhood mapping, partnership-building with nearby local businesses, and or related work. If working with the kids, they prefer students who can commit to a semester or more of service, as the kids will benefit more from this, but they will accept volunteers on any timeline. The UACS Pond Gap program is directed by Dr. Bob Kronick, professor of Educational Psychology and Counseling, who is also open to collaborating with other faculty around the UACS model. Contact Mark Benson, Program Coordinator, at email@example.com for more information about a partnership.
The mission of the Women’s Fund is “to be a catalyst to transform the lives of low-income women and girls in East Tennessee.” They are working to create opportunities for women and girls to be self-sufficient, and seek opportunities to engage with faculty and students from UT to break down barriers for young women and girls in their 25-county service area. The Women’s Fund is seeking graduate interns, student volunteers, or class project partnerships to develop and implement one or more of the following important programs: 1) Grant Writing & Research on Funding –development of all-encompassing grant and research opportunities for funding of Women’s Fund initiatives; 2) Legislative Research & Data Base – establishment of a process to watch state legislative updates and scan for bills affecting women and young girls in the areas of domestic violence and sex-trafficking, 3) Research on Sustainability for Women & Young Girls and Barriers Confronting Them – work with the Women’s Fund Grants & Research Committee and various other civic and university programs to provide a new regional study (25 counties in East TN) to identify key issues creating barriers to sustainability for women and young girls; and 4) Video Production – work with the Women’s Fund Advisory Board to understand some of the issues that create barriers to sustainability for women. These videos would be used by a wide variety of audiences ranging from school children through college age, to civic organizations, legislators, and others to communicate the cycle of obstacles that affect this population. The student or class should be creative, innovative, comfortable and willing to discuss the topic and present their findings. Several of their venues such as the Young Women’s Leadership Forum, the WF Grants & Research Technical Workshops in Knoxville and Johnson City, and the Women’s Fund SmarTEA’s provide speaking and presenting opportunities. The Women’s Fund Newsletter and website provide writing and publishing opportunities to report as well. They are also open to other ideas for Service Learning projects. For more information contact Ms. Terry A. Morgan, CFRE, Director of the Women’s Fund, at Tmorgan@etf.org.
The YWCA Knoxville & the Tennessee Valley is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.
Opportunity: GameChangers is an after-school program that pairs adult males with middle schools boys as mentors, specifically focusing on discussing concepts like domestic violence, sexual assault, bystander intervention, and healthy relationships. Funded through a grant from the Office on Violence Against Women, we place two men with ten boys at a variety of sites around Knoxville. Currently, we are searching for male mentors older than the age of 18 to volunteer as a mentor. The commitment would last for a semester, and would be equivalent to 1.5 hours per week.
In addition to the community-based organizations listed above, there are also organizations and offices on campus that invite service-learners. Please see the below opportunities for on-campus service. We will be updating this list regularly.
UT Recycling’s mission is to provide quality recycling services to all campus buildings and to reduce campus waste. The recycling team goes above and beyond their duties of providing recycling infrastructure and pick-up, working hard to educate and encourage participation in the college community. Office staff work to reduce UT’s environmental impact and integrate recycling, conservation, and other sustainability best practices into campus and community culture. Their office is looking for students to assist with solid waste reduction, composting, and recycling through one of their many ongoing volunteer projects. They are also open to working with faculty to have students involved in other efforts, including website design, social media, research, cost-benefit analysis, project designs, and new program start-up efforts. Contact Jay Price, Environmental Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Faculty: If you are currently pursuing a service-learning partnership with an organization not listed below and would like to have it listed for other faculty to view, please contact our office so that we may acquire an opportunity description and provide them with resources on service-learning.