By BRITTANY THOMPSON
Cumberland County College’s Service Learning Program is an interactive teaching method that blends meaningful community service with the content, objectives, and assignments of a course. The Service Learning Program helps students learn through experiences outside of the classroom. This has become a great program for the college and students.
One of projects that the Service Learning Program created was The Domestic Violence Awareness Day led by faculty member Kate Mathers. Domestic Violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.
This event was also part of the National Service Learning Organization Campus Compact. The benefit of the project is that victims of domestic violence made contact throughout the community in moving forward with their lives.
This is such an important national topic that Campus Compact requested that CCC’s Domestic Violence Awareness Day was included in their service learning program. Campus Compact is a national coalition of more than 1,100 college and university presidents—representing some 6 million students—who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education.
This project was a combination of things like Domestic Violence Awareness, Domestic Violence Prevention, and the Arts & Healing process through movement, dance, and physical fitness. The event was held to educate people that there is a way out of an abusive relationship and to explain some of the early warning signs. This kind of abuse can cause economic stress as well.
A featured part of the event included a student discussing her abusive marriage. She explained that at first, it was just an ordinary relationship and over time, it became an abusive relationship. As this abuse escalated and became more violent, she couldn’t find a way out. She sought help after a significant event — being thrown out of a moving car at 65 m.p.h.
This event took place last spring in the Luciano Theatre on a Wednesday, from 2pm to 4pm. It was a combination of a project with students and the Domestic Violence Family Violence and Community Relations class (PY216). They created the event and they recruited professionals to participate such as prosecutors, lawyers, non-profit organizations, and former students who have been in an abusive relationship. An estimated 200 people attended this event.
There were speakers who attended this event and answered audience questions. There also was a fitness instructor who discussed emotional and physical health as it pertains to healthy relationships. The instructor owns a profit studio and donates a percentage of the proceeds to benefit domestic violent victims.
An art therapist who also attended the event created an interactive project with attendees to allow victims to express their feelings and emotions based on their life experiences.
CCC’s Domestic Violence Awareness Day provided education and hope for people in abusive relationships. The event also sparked the beginning of the healing process for many attendees.
Through events like Domestic Violence Awareness Day, CCC’s Service Learning Program helps educate and connect students and community members.