One of the really neat things that happened recently is that one of my colleagues, Professor Valerie Bang-Jensen received a Governor's Award for Outstanding Community Service - Service Learning category, for the work her students have been doing at the COTS Main Street Family Shelter in Burlington, Vermont for the past two years. Valerie received the award from Peter Shumlin, Vermont State Governor at the Vermont State House in Montpelier. With Valerie, is Nicole Marshall, a St. Mike's graduate ('09) who nominated Valerie for the award. Nicole took Valerie's Children's Lit course a few years ago while a student at St. Mike's and is now the Development Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator at COTS.
St. Mike's is well known for the Service learning activities of its students such as inner city renewal projects and Habitat for Humanity. Many courses are also designated as having a service learning component. But there is something special about being recognised for service to the community when the activity is set up with the goal of providing everyone involved with a positive and worthwhile experience.
The "Book Buddies" program that Valerie connected with is a way of providing the St. Mike's students with a great learning experience while at the same time bringing the richness of children's literature into the lives of young children who find themsleves in less fortunate circumstances. The Children's Literature Class is one example of how the Education Programs at St. Mike's are incorporating more and more non-traditional education settings into student experiences as thjey pursue their teacher licensure.