2018 Jenks Leadership Program Service Projects
The culmination of the Jenks Leadership program is the service project. In teams of 4-6, Jenks participants design and execute a service project during the third module of their Jenks experience, using the skills and tools they have learned during their first two modules. Rather than assign a project to each team, students are given the opportunity, as a group, to choose an issue they are passionate about and come up with a creative approach to effecting change. Below are examples of a few successful projects.
Kids for Healthy Minds
The mission of Kids for Healthy Minds is to create resources for teachers to talk about mental health proactively and positively from an early age. Educators and school counselors often address such issues reactively, years later during adolescence. Thus, we have created ten distinct lesson plans, each focusing on a particular children's book, with activities and questions to provide opportunities for growth in each individual student and encourage healthy relationship-building among peers. Our curriculum dives deeper into messages and emotional education rooted in the content of these books, allowing the lesson to continue after reading the book.
Building Bridges: Mattapan Teen Center and Boston College
The goal of our project is to build a productive and meaningful relationship between the Mattapan Teen Center and Boston College. The Mattapan Teen Center operates under the umbrella of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, which helps young people in need build character and be responsible citizens and leaders in their communities. The director of the Teen Center identified a need for the teens to be exposed to the experiences that people of color face in society and on college campuses. We assembled a panel of bright and intelligent students of color from Boston College to lead critical conversations with the members of the Mattapan Teen Center where they offered their perspectives on high school, the college process, and their experiences at Boston College as a person of color.
Jenks X Boston Medical Center
For our project we created a space for children who are patients at Boston Medical Center that fosters a positive, educational, and comfortable hospital experience. Our goal is to help diminish the negative stigma of hospitals as a dark and scary place. By creating a room that serves as a first impression for patients and their families, we are able to make a lasting impact on the role that the hospital plays in their lives. For the funding, supplies, and design of the room we secured an artist to create a mural on the wall, secured toy and book donations from Leap Frog, Melissa & Doug and other organizations, and created a Go fund Me page.
Rosie's Place Arts Initiative
The mission of our project is to instill or renew a love for the arts within an underprivileged community in the Boston-area and inspire the use of the arts for personal expression. We partnered with Rosie’s Place, a women’s shelter located in downtown Boston. Rosie’s Place recently ended their arts program due to funding, so we worked with the volunteer coordinator to bring BC musicians to perform during the dinner period. Residents were also invited to perform with the BC musicians. We also led an arts and crafts session with the women and their children. We plan to continue our involvement with this initiative as we will be facilitating a temporary art exhibit to be displayed in the McMullen Museum and the Robsham Theatre bringing this art exchange full circle.
Bursting the Bubble: Expanding the Service Culture at BC
Through our college experience, we have found how difficult it can be to find ways to make an impact in the community. Our mission is to provide services and make it much easier for clubs on campus to share their gifts and talents with those who need them in the Boston area. Through our collaboration with OSI (Office of Student Involvement) we want to share the service leadership skills that we learned through Jenks and inspire the community to follow the Jesuit values of Boston College's mission and 10 year plan. By creating the Excel Curriculum and the Leadership Development Program modules, we aim to create a sustainable plan that will continue to impact eagles long after we graduate.
Little Impacts: Teaching Littles a Sustainable Lifestyle
The goal of our project is to increase awareness of environmental issues by creating engaging and informative activities. We partnered with BC Bigs, a campus-based mentoring program, where “Little Brothers and Sisters” from Franklin Field Housing Development in Dorchester come to campus to do activities with their “Big Brothers and Sisters.” Our presentation to the 50 littles, ages 7-17 addressed three themes: pollution, climate change, and habitat destruction where we discussed how each theme relates to each other, their impact on our world, and how we can help to protect the environment. Activities included a recycling game, plant pot decorating where littles received seedlings for the pots they created, and an interactive quiz that paired littles with their bigs to answer questions about the lessons learned during the afternoon. BC Bigs have expressed an intent to continue this initiative.
Past Service Projects
Class of 2017 Projects
5K LONG FOR BC STRONG
The goal of our project is to bring a larger sense of awareness amongst the student body of the lack of accessibility and difficulties that students with physical disabilities face on campus. Working in collaboration with the Boston College Strong Scholarship our team implemented an on-campus 5K run to raise money for the scholarship fund. The Boston College Strong Scholarship was created in honor of alumnus Patrick Downes ’05 and his wife Jessica Kensky who were survivors of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. This scholarship provides financial aid to a student with physical disabilities and in need of such aid. This first annual 5K run generated publicity across the BC community not only about the scholarship but about the story and mission of the couple that founded it, and attracted more than 70 runners. We hope to make this an annual event and will be working to create a BC Strong student organization. In year two, we hope to have 200+ runners.
BC NOURISHES ST. COLUMBKILLE
This project was designed to engage and educate elementary school students at St. Columbkille on issues of health, nutrition, and overall wellness. While an incredibly valuable lifelong skill, knowledge of nutrition is rarely discussed in lower-level education. The goal for our project was to empower young students to take personal responsibility of their health by focusing on nutrition education in the classroom. Over two days, we implemented a nutrition education workshop to 3rd and 4th graders. Workshops featured guest speakers comprising of BC athletes, dancers, and students enrolled in nutrition classes. We also provided a healthy snack bar, and engaged students in games that reviewed the concepts discussed in the workshops. Emphasizing the importance of healthy eating while proposing ways that students might implement new knowledge into their daily life was received with very positive reactions from both students and teachers. The students thrived by learning new curriculum and the methods we used to convey the information were conducive to student learning. Looking forward, given Boston College’s partnership with St. Columbkille we have started the conversation with the Boston College Office of Health Promotion to possibly carry on and build on this initiative.
THE GIVING GARDEN
Our project was to build a sustainable garden at the East Boston Early Education Center. It was our goal to promote a sense of belonging and hope for the community and all who interact with the garden particularly the children so that they form and have a meaningful connection with their local environment. Our sub-goals were to enhance the school campus and neighborhood by bringing nature into an inner-city environment; increase student interaction with nature, which helps mitigate behavioral issues and learning differences; and create a beautiful space for an under-resourced school that will be sustainable and inspire hope in children, teachers, and parents. Working with a professional landscaper, we planted plants that will thrive over the summer with minimal watering. During the school year, one class per week would receive the special honor to water the Giving Garden so they each have a piece in its growth. We plan to engage Recruit EcoReps or another club to help maintain the garden as well as start a fundraising campaign to support the future of our garden.
MEALS FOR OTHERS
For our project we sought to bring awareness to the global issues of poverty and nutrition in rural areas. We created a fundraising campaign which included a dinner and acapella show to benefit the organization Landesa. Over 1 billion of the world’s poorest people live in rural areas where land is a key asset, but they do not have rights to the land. Founded in 1981 by Roy Prosterman, the Landesa Rural Development Institute was the first NGO to partner with governments to extend land rights to the rural poor which has resulted in increased agricultural production; increased property investments; and increased income. We decided to host a dinner as it is symbolic of feeding yourself and donating to feed others while rallying people around something that naturally brings community together (food!) We worked closely with BC’s executive chef, Frank Bailey to create a farm to table sourced menu and included acapella groups in the event as we believe that they embody the university’s mission to create a community. Future plans for this project include working with BC Dining to designate left over meal plan dollars to the Landesa organization and securing sponsors to donate food to forthcoming fundraising efforts.
PUTT FOR VETERANS
Our project was created to raise awareness and funds to benefit American military veterans who are faced with overcoming disabilities and major injuries. We partnered with Soldier Strong, an organization that is dedicated to improving the lives of our veterans by providing “state of the art” technology to help get them back on their feet. Soldier Strong partners with the world’s leading medical technology companies to provide profound, life changing devices for veterans. Our team’s fundraising effort included a miniature golf tournament, raffle sales and an event at Agoro’s.
Class of 2016 Projects
STANDUP FOR A CAUSE
Our team planned a fundraiser to benefit Prevent Child Abuse America. The event StandUp For a Cause was held in Robsham Theater and featured performances from some of Boston College’s best comedy talent groups, including Ready, Set, PUNCHLINE and CCE. Headlining was Boston College alumnus and comedian, Dana Jay Bein. Our group hopes to make StandUp For a Cause an annual event that will give student comedy groups exposure while raising money for a great organization.
FRANCISCANS FIELD DAY
For our project, our team planned an event for the Franciscan Hospital for Children. The objective of our project was to use the talents within the BC community and create an event for the pediatric patients at Franciscan's. Working with a child life specialist at the hospital, the team developed the idea to have a fun day for the patients. Collaborating with BC’s Project Sunshine group, volunteers participated in activities like finger and face painting, a beanbag toss, hopscotch and bubble blowing with the patients. Project Sunshine plans to continue this initiative in years to come. Our leadership takeaways from this experience can be summed up in three words, ADAPTABILITY, INCLUSION, AND PERSISTENCE.
ST. COLUMBKILLE OLYMPICS
For our project, we collaborated with St. Columbkille Partnership School to implement the St. Columbkille Sports Club, a three week long athletic discovery program focusing on six different sports, including basketball, kickball and volleyball. Volunteers were drawn from BC's club sports teams, who mentored and coached St. Columbkille students from 3-5:00 PM Monday through Thursday, helping the latter group to sample new activities and build meaningful relationships with their peers. The afternoon started with volunteers helping the students with homework followed by sport activities in the second part of the afternoon. The St. Columbkille School had been interested in finding a way to implement more sports initiatives for their students, so our project helped them to spearhead this initiative and inaugurate their new sports facilities.
SPRING CLEANING: CLOTHING DRIVE
Lessons in adaptability, flexibility, scalability and red tape were learned as we had to forego our initial project plan that focused on creating avenues of income for autistic individuals through participant accomplishment in the arts. After the setback we regrouped and came up with a project that we felt benefited a worthy community in need. We organized a clothing drive to benefit St. Francis House, the largest day center for homeless individuals in Massachusetts. We launched a major social media campaign and were able to generate tremendous buzz among students resulting in a truckload of clothes that was donated to St. Francis.
Class of 2015 Projects
The original mission of our project was to educate the Boston College community about the repercussions of smoking and tobacco. However, we realized that education was not the primary issue, as almost everyone is aware of the negative repercussions of smoking. So we decided to reshape our mission, to make Boston College a smoke-free campus. Though we understood that this was a lofty goal, especially considering our time constraints, we hoped that this Jenks project would be able to start a greater movement on campus, which would have effects and benefits far beyond our semester-long project. We identified three phases of the project which we felt were necessary to achieve this goal. They included raising awareness; garnering support from other student bodies; and finally the policy change that would make BC a smoke-free campus. The first step of this project focused on creating awareness on the Boston College campus, and we partnered with Boston College Relay for Life--specifically with its Colleges Against Cancer Committee. At the Relay for Life 12-hour, overnight event sponsored by the American Cancer Society, we were able to reach a very wide and diverse audience. Our initiative to raise awareness included quarter sheets and laminated literature, illustrating the dangers of smoking and tobacco; and in order to engage and incentivize traffic to our table, hundreds of “educational cookies,” which each contained a fact related to smoking or smoking-induced diseases.
As found by our research, universities and colleges with smoke-free campuses typically became smoke-free by a top-down policy. Because this project aims to create change via a grassroots approach, we recognized that gaining support on campus among students and faculty was crucial. Through a partnership with the Undergraduate Government of Boston College (UGBC), a survey was sent out to a random sampling of BC students, inquiring about their support of the smoke-free movement at Boston College. After raising awareness, it was necessary to create a network of support for the movement on campus to make it more visible and credible, and identified other key and relevant organizations on campus to join the movement. Some of these organizations include the BC chapter of the American Red Cross, Globe Med, EcoPledge, and the Connell School of Nursing Senate.
We hope that the benefits of this project extend far beyond our semester of Jenks, and while the most important goals of this semester to build a strong foundation for the movement, by raising awareness and garnering support were met, most of the action will take place in the months and semesters to come. The partnership with UGBC, Relay for Life, and the smoke-free committee will continue to promote and grow this initiative next year. As this collaboration becomes stronger, we will work with the administration to create the institutional change necessary to make Boston College a smoke-free campus.
As of April 2, 2015, there were 1,543 smoke-free college campuses and over a thousand tobacco-free campuses in the United States, according to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation. 3 other Jesuit universities, 21 other major schools in Massachusetts are now smoke-free, including Northeastern University and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. It is our hope that Boston College will join the ranks of these other universities, to become a smoke-free campus.
JENKS LOVES MAIL
For our project, we partnered with the Girls Love Mail charity, an organization founded by Gina Mulligan, a breast cancer survivor, which collects hand-written letters and gives them to women undergoing breast cancer treatment. These letters are distributed through cancer centers and doctor’s offices. We set up a Jenks table at Relay for Life, where we gave BC students the opportunity to not only emotionally connect to a major world issue, but connect with others outside of the BC community.
The event embodied the mission of beginning in the night, and waking up into the sunrise with new light and new adventures ahead of you. It was very humbling to see the number of people who wrote letters which contained words of inspiration and encouragement. Roughly 150 letters were written by BC students, and as of April 2, 2015, the Girls Love Mail organization had received 4,568 letters and counting.
Relay for Life has asked that this initiative continue next year and beyond.
MINI JENKS AT BIRD STREET COMMUNITY CENTER
For our project we worked with middle-schoolers at the Bird Street Community Center, in Dorchester. We created a Mini Jenks program and ran two workshops. For the first workshop we used games to focus on teamwork and improving communication skills. Using Tinker Toys students were charged with building the tallest structure under various communication constraints; and with the blindfold game challenges were presented, and students had to rely on their peers to achieve tasks. This workshop accomplished its goal by demonstrating and teaching the students teamwork, listening, and nonverbal communication skills. The second workshop was focused on conflict resolution skills where we presented various skits and scenarios and had the students come up with solutions. With this workshop, students were able to walk away with tools that will help them to navigate any complex or challenging situation that they may be presented. The students were very engaged in the activities, and we received very positive feedback from the Director of the Middle School Youth Council at the Center.
PASSING IT FORWARD
The mission of our project was to organize and implement a student run program to foster learning and leadership for young members of the Roxbury Youth Program, while developing their appetite for opportunities for higher education. We had three objectives: to encourage students to think about college; foster goal setting to focus on future plans; and to build leadership and teamwork skills. The students were juniors and seniors, and for the first two goals, we directed the discussion towards their plans for the future and answer questions they had about college life. Using the SMART goal framework, we were able to provide them with information on what they needed to do to go to college and be successful while there. The students were very receptive during the workshop and were excited to think about their future. For the third objective, we used the Stranded on a Life Raft exercise to help them learn how to work together and learn the art of prioritizing. The activity was a success and the students reported that they enjoyed it much more than they expected. They got very competitive with each other and worked well in teams to get the best results.
Class of 2014 Projects
EAGLES TAKE ACTION
Eagles Take Action is a day of service geared towards first year students built around the idea of introducing them to community service at BC and showing them the meaning of leading a life of service. With this project, we aimed to present new students to the Jesuit core value of “men and women for others” and Jenks Leadership Program’s emphasis on servant leadership. We partnered with organizations such as JumpStart, Haley House, Edison School, and Boys & Girls Club Dorchester, all of which have preexisting relationships with BC groups. By selecting this diverse group of organizations, we were able to cater to the individual interests of each volunteer and provide them a more meaningful experience. These tailored service opportunities offer a comfortable and friendly environment to foster community and build friendships outside the BC sphere. We ended the day with a panel of students with diverse backgrounds in service, on and off campus, who were able to provide insights about their experiences on volunteering and community building. Although small in its maiden year, we hope that the project will continue to develop and have a long lasting impact on all participants for years to come.
HYGIENE FOR THE HOMELESS
Our group aims to make a donation of hygiene products to the Woods Mullen homeless shelter in Boston. The shelter is run by Friends of Boston Homeless (FOBH), a non-profit organization that supports solution-oriented programs to help the homeless move beyond shelters to lead independent lives. The purpose of our service project stems from every member’s aspiration to help the homeless community in Boston since a large proportion of that community is made up of teenagers and young adults our age. We identified that Boston's homeless shelters were lacking in hygiene products, and this concerned us the most since hygiene plays such a large role in health and quality of life. Therefore, we decided to fund raise and buy the products under the mentality of promoting the health and wellbeing of the Boston homeless community. We pride ourselves in our transparency philosophy when we fundraise, where each of our donors understands what type of hygiene products can and will be bought with each donation. In addition to the donation of hygiene products, we also hope to develop a lasting charitable partnership between FOBH and Boston College.
Our project is to promote sustainability on campus. To do this, we designed a two-pronged campaign centered around Recyclemania, a five-week-long nation-wide competition between colleges and universities to achieve the highest recycling rate. The first component of our project was a promotional campaign that aimed to utilize social media as well as more traditional publicizing methods to increase awareness of and participation in Recyclemania at BC. To do this, we created a Facebook group in which we posted our weekly rankings in the competition, held a poster design competition and posted the winning poster on campus and online, got articles published in The Heights and The Gavel, and held an Instagram "Caught Green-handed" competition. The second component was an event in The Mods. We replaced the tops of the recycling bins with new blue tops, and had passerby sign the inside of the tops to "leave their mark" on BC, and provided information about recycling at BC as well as food, reusable water bottles, and Recyclemania pins.
VOICES OF THE VOICELESS
The goal of our Jenks project was to raise awareness about the homelessness population of Boston and highlight the human dignity that every person possesses. To do this, we hosted an event, called "Voice of the Voiceless," in the Murray Function Room on March 26th with 2 formerly homeless individuals from the Faces of Homelessness Speakers Bureau, Peter and Tia. Peter spoke about his experience of living at Father Bill's shelter in Quincy for 7 years while Tia spoke of her trials being bounced around among shelters with her 2 young children. The event was well attended and featured a robust question and answer period in which students were able to interact and converse with the two speakers.
Class of 2013 Projects
BC HELPING OTHERS GET BACK ON THEIR FEET
Our group is partnering with the Boston chapter of Back On My Feet (BOMF), a national organization working to rehabilitate the homeless through running. BOMF prepares members for serious road races, including the Boston Marathon, while providing them the necessary resources to jumpstart their futures. After completing an initial phase with BOMF, members can gain access to job training, employment opportunities, and even financial aid. Our group plans to contribute resources that enable BOMF to continue their work. We are raising funds that can pay for running clothing and entrance fees for races. We are collecting and will then donate several pairs of new running sneakers. Finally, we plan to bring a BOMF member to BC’s campus where he or she can speak about his or her experiences before and after BOMF and the BOMF program itself. In bringing a BOMF member to campus, we will raise awareness about homelessness in our own backyard as well as highlight organizations, which along with BOMF have been combating this issue head on.
CAMPUS HEALTH AND WELLNESS CAMPAIGN
Campus Health and Wellness Campaign is a campus-wide informational campaign focused on healthy living and health resources at Boston College. In cooperation with University Counseling Services, the Office of Health Promotion, and other student organizations, the campaign seeks to raise awareness of issues concerning mental health, stress, and healthy living on campus, as well as to increase students' utilization of existing campus resources. The campaign will proceed in two stages. First, informational fliers and will be distributed on campus in an effort to highlight major health issues facing university students along with their symptoms, causes, and helpful resources. Second, a scavenger hunt and giveaway will encourage students to visit the locations The Jenks team hopes that a successful campaign will prompt the formation of a student organization that assists the administration in implementing similar campaigns in the future.
GIVE IT AWAY
"Give It Away" is a series of workshops held at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dorchester designed to be a condensed version of the Jenks Leadership Program. The project's goal is to instill ethics, education, and a sense of community into a group of youth from the greater Boston area. The workshops are mirrored after those conducted in JLP, such as Tinker Toys, Lost at Sea, the Helium Pole activity, and improvisation, while also incorporating the lessons and ideas of 48 Hours, Kairos, Splash, 4Boston, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. These workshops build on key tenets of leadership through interactive activities and reflection journaling. The title and inspiration for the “Give It Away” program comes from Father Michael Himes’ Homily during the mass at Fenway, celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Boston College, where he preached that “The reason to be educated is to teach someone else. You never grasp the fruits of your education until you give it away.” As a result, the purpose of this program is to pass on what has been learned through the Jenks Leadership Program to those who can be positively influenced by it. The program’s impact is intended to be long lasting, and it is hoped that in the long run it will become a perennial service project.
JENKS AND CRADLES TO CRAYONS
Cradles to Crayons (C2C) is a nonprofit organization based in Brighton, founded to provide everyday essentials like clothing and school supplies to Boston-area children living without a home, or in a low-income household, from birth to age 12. C2C is able to provide these items at no cost by engaging "communities that have with communities that need." As members of the Boston College community, we have much to offer our young neighbors in Boston. The aim of our project is to harness the time and financial support of our peers for the benefit of the children served by C2C. We are doing this by coordinating regular, in-person visits by a range of student groups at BC to C2C's "Giving Factory" where our volunteers can experience firsthand the gratification of sorting clothes, toys, and school supplies, and assembling them into "kid packs" for young people who would otherwise do without. In order to raise awareness at BC about C2C and the underlying needs of the population they serve, we have designed an informative website targeted at BC students through which supporters can make online contributions toward the purchase of specific items in high demand at C2C.
“SmarterWater” is a campaign aimed lowering the use of disposable water bottles on the Boston College campus, as well as at raising awareness of the importance of conserving the environment. We hope to lower the use of disposable water bottles by giving out free aluminum water bottles with a Jenks SmarterWater logo. Each water bottle we hand out will have an attached tag with statistics about the effects of disposable water bottles on the environment, as well as information which demonstrates that bottled water is no better than tap water. The water bottles will technically be free, but we will accept donations and allow students to pay what they think the water bottles are worth, in hopes that we can order multiple batches of water bottles and get as many of them as possible out on campus. We plan on distributing the water bottles in the quad, outside the Plex, and on the first floor of McElroy Commons. If there are any proceeds remaining at the end of the project, we will donate them to an environmental organization in the area. Our group hopes that this project will be a step toward creating a plastic bottle-free campus and that students will get fired up about protecting the environment.