The Summer of Service is one of the Colleges’ most exciting yearly offerings to students committed to continuing the concept of service-learning into summer months. This June, five William Smith students begin their placements throughout Geneva as part of this civic engagement effort.
Now in its fifth year, the program provides a 10-week commitment with one particular organization in the community, including the Boys and Girls Club of Geneva (Goodman Street and Community Center locations) and Geneva High School. Summer of Service is made possible through donations made by friends of the Colleges seeking to support civic service.
“I think the Summer of Service embodies the ideals of ‘lives of consequences’ in a way that feels tangible for the students,” says Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL) Director Katie Flowers. “It’s another opportunity for our students to see themselves as Genevans, and it allows our community partners to further some of their goals by leveraging the talent of our students.”
Selected from a competitive pool of applicants, these students represent several of the most dedicated and involved members of the HWS community.
Hannah Brooks ’17 will be coordinating a lunch program at each Boys and Girls Club location in Geneva, ensuring that all young people in attendance have access to a healthy lunch throughout the summer. In addition, Brooks will work for the Club’s Teen Center, engaging older students in educational projects. She hopes to pilot a photojournalism project with teens, which would culminate in the production of a print book featuring stories and photographs from the participants.
“I decided to get involved in summer of service because I yearned for an internship or job opportunity that would allow me to immerse myself in this community further and have a meaningful impact,” she says.
Brooks is also a Resident Assistant and a Civic Leader for America Reads at HWS.
Shantel Carrasco ’16 will spend her summer at the Geneva Boys and Girls Club as a staff member working to engage young people in both educational and exciting endeavors. A psychology major and health professions minor, Carrasco returns from her study abroad experience in the Netherlands to dive into this new working environment with the young attendees of the Boys and Girls Club. She says she is interested in becoming “more involved in programs that help the younger teens in Geneva pursue a college degree and provide support through summer programs.”
Carrasco is also currently a part of the HWS EMS as well as an employee of the HWS IT Services throughout the year.
Samantha Kearney ’17 is set to continue her standing partnership with the Boys and Girls Club, working this summer at the Goodman Street site with elementary school students. During her previous summer, she worked at the program’s site in Albany, which is close to her hometown. For her placement at Goodman Street, she hopes to encourage artistic projects and creative expression with the young participants in the Boys and Girls Club.
A psychology and women’s studies major with a minor in studio art, Kearney describes herself as “passionate about community engagement and interested in getting to know the city of Geneva outside of HWS.”
Stephanie Kenific ’17 will be involved in a number of community outreach positions throughout this summer, beginning with her role as publicity manager for the Geneva Music Festival, which runs during the month of June. She will also contribute to the CCESL office on several service-related projects, including planning for the upcoming First-Year Day of Service
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to hone my skills as a writer through working at the HWS Communications Office and taking advantage of courses and service placements related to tutoring and writing,” she reflects. “Now, I have a great opportunity to give back to HWS and Geneva in this capacity!”
A member of the HWS Teacher Education Program, Kenific is also an active contributor to The Herald and member of William Smith Congress.
Lesly Rivero ’17 will begin her summer by working alongside the Assistant Principal of Geneva High School Nate Schneckenburger. Her responsibilities will include assisting in data collection efforts, conducting reports, proctoring exams and facilitating summer programs. She will also facilitate the Summer Academy at HWS, a two-week program provided by the Colleges for low-income students who are driven to pursue higher education. Rivero’s decision to participate in the Summer of Service follows her enrollment in a service-learning course which focused on researching the Geneva community.
“I decided to prolong my involvement,” she explains. “Prior to the community engagement and research the course allowed me to become involved in, I knew very little about Geneva. I find it extremely necessary to learn about the community because our actions affect it every day and we need to learn how to create positive changes.”
“These students are involved in service and have taken service-learning courses and developed an interest in the breadth of potential for civic engagement,” adds Flowers. “I look forward to seeing their contributions to the community throughout the summer as well as the capstone presentation in early August.”