WGS service-learning class helps secure grant for El Buen Pastor

Wake Forest faculty headshots, Wednesday, August 28, 2013. Angela Kocze, Sociology.

Thanks in part to professor Angéla Kóczé’s service learning course, “Women Entrepreneurship: Innovation, Sustainability, and Social Responsibility,” El Buen Pastor Latino Community Services was recently awarded a grant for $24,500 from The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem.

As part of the course, Kóczé’s students generate social change through entrepreneurship. Under her leadership, she and her students developed a grant proposal to help women in the El Buen Pastor community start their own businesses. The funds awarded by The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem will provide support for training, workshops, networking, seed funding and hands-on experiences to an initial group of 10 women entrepreneurs.

“Higher education as a public space is more than just one individual’s high academic achievement,” says Kóczé, who is a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. “It is an arena where critical knowledge is produced and translated in a social reality. Service learning is one of the methods to connect knowledge with relevant social problems. Service learning changes students’ attitudes and challenges them to move beyond the act of charity and instead work towards more systemic changes.”

In classrooms and organizations campuswide, faculty are designing classes with service-learning components. Wake Forest’s Pro Humanitate Institute is the central place to organize and share ideas that will help improve how the University interacts with the world.

“It has been wonderful to be a part of this collaboration between Angéla, her students and the women of the El Buen Pastor community,” said Erika Stewart, director of family literacy at El Buen Pastor Latino Community Services. “Each semester built upon the last by helping the women identify the dreams, fears, strengths and obstacles that would become part of the now funded “Full Baskets – Canastos Llenos” program. The students and the women from El Buen Pastor learned from each other, identified differences, and yet also surprised themselves by finding much in common. We are excited and honored to receive this grant from the Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem, and we are grateful to Angéla and her students for all of their enthusiasm, dedication and support.”

The Pro Humanitate Institute supports community engagement efforts through a small grant program that can be used by faculty to offset costs associated with service learning and community engagement. Grants may be awarded for up to $500 for community engagement. Learn more on the here.