Current CBL Project Ideas

AY 2023 - 2024 CBL

The Office of Community Based Learning has worked with our community-partner agencies to identify projects that foster mutually beneficial collaborations between the University and the greater Scranton community. Faculty are encouraged to view our list of suggested CBL/CBR options and can also contact either Julie Schumacher Cohen, CBL Chair at or Carolyn M. Bonacci, coordinator of community and civic engagement at, to learn more about community partnerships.

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AY 2023 - 2024 CBL Project Ideas

Community-Building Projects

 Child Hunger Outreach Partners Volunteer Opportunities
Partner: CHOP: Child Hunger Outreach Partners
Contact: Koren Clark,
Activity: An awareness-raising campaign to get more information out to the community about volunteer opportunities and how this service directly impacts the community. Interested in working with faculty and students with a focus on food insecurity. 

Neighborhood Pop-up Planning and Support
Partner: United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA (UNC)
Contact: Chrissy Manuel, Director of Community Revitalization,
Activity: UNC is an Elm Street organization working on community revitalization and development in Scranton’s Pine Brook neighborhood, and is seeking support to engage residents through pop-up events and activities. Support can include offering activates and sharing information at pop-up events, assistance with the planning, marketing, and execution of pop-up ups.

Artist Submissions and Promotional Campaigns 
Partner: First Friday Scranton
Contact: Thom Welby, Executive Director,, 570-351-1784
Activity: Student/university submissions/participation in First Friday events; promotional campaigns. 

Environmental Programs and Art Contest
Partner: Lackawanna Heritage Valley
Contact: Owen Worozbyt, 
Activity: Environmental programs, specifically a photo/art contest we are looking at doing in the fall/winter 2023/2024 and highlighting it at April First Friday events in 2024. 

 Peer to Peer Meetings
Partner: Cypress House Bakery
Contact: Eileen Occhipinti,
Activity: Peer to peer meetings with formerly incarcerated individuals.  

Period Project with Catherine McCauley Center
Partner: Catherine McCauley Center
Contact: Krista Murray,
Activity:  The Catherine McAuley Center believes it is important to treat menstruation as a basic hygiene practice while working to provide the necessary products to those in need to address this basic element of health care. “Period poverty" refers to the lack of access to the necessary menstrual health products and reportedly affects 1 in 5 women. As the Center serves primarily women and children experiencing homelessness, period poverty is a significant barrier for our clients. The Catherine McAuley Center’s Period Project is meant to: Provide access to menstrual hygiene products; Educate that period poverty is a real issue; Advocate to reduce stigma around periods and period poverty; and Empower those who menstruate. For a CBL project, this would require the coordination with third parties of product drives, assisting in product giveaway to those in need, creating educational programming  for the community at large, those who menstruate and the caregivers of those who menstruate and involvement with advocacy efforts to provide necessary supplies at local businesses, schools, prisons and more. 

Diversity/Inclusion Projects

Job Skills Workshops for Refugee Adults
Partner: Congolese Community of Scranton
Contacts: Ushu Mukelo,, Julie Schumacher Cohen, AVP of Community Engagement and Govt. Affairs,, and Carolyn M. Bonacci, Community and Civic Engagement Coordinator,
Activity: Scranton’s Congolese Community would like to provide job skills workshops for refugee adults. Adult career development is needed especially for refugee families that have individuals/parents who came with an education but have difficulty finding a job in those fields of interest. 

Civic Engagement and Voting Workshops for Congolese Community of Scranton
Partner: Congolese Community of Scranton
Contacts: Ushu Mukelo,, Julie Schumacher Cohen, AVP of Community Engagement and Govt. Affairs,, and Carolyn M. Bonacci, Community and Civic Engagement Coordinator,
Activity: Scranton’s Congolese Community is seeking information and civic education focused on the U.S. Constitution, the democratic process, and voting (how to register to vote, where to vote, what voting entails, etc.). Support for this project can include organizing and offering workshops to members of the Congolese community in partnership with the Office of Community Relations.

Adaptive Rideshare Program Ride Creation 
Partner: Lackawanna Heritage Valley 
Contact: Owen Worozbyt, Trail & Environmental Project Manager,; Justin Topa, Community Engagement & Programs Manager, 
Activity: Seeking assistance/to reengage Physical Therapy Department on our adaptive rideshare programs including the creation of rides for adaptive bikes with considerations in mind for those with various abilities. Additional support needed with PT service orientated work along the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail.  

Education/Youth Engagement

Workshops for S.T.A.R.S. Youth
Partner: S.T.A.R.S. Program (Students Together Achieving Remarkable Success)
Contact: Jenny Gonzalez, Program Director,
Activity: The S.T.A.R.S. program offers Hispanic and Latinx youth in grades 7th-12th grade the opportunity to explore their long-term academic goals and provides exposure to post-secondary educational paths, trades, and careers. They are seeking a partnership to provide workshops on topics during their weekly meetings. Workshops are 1 ½ hours each. Potential course partners can take one workshop and focus on the specific topic of the course by offering STARS students an opportunity to meet with University students, visit/tour University labs/facilities, and offer discussion/connection on the career paths associated with the course content.

Presentations to Middle/High School Students
Partner: United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA – Leaders In Training Program
Contact: Nathan Masco, LIT Coordinator,
Activity: Create programming on science and/or topics (can be related to academic area of interest/course topic/career path focused) for LIT students (middle school – high school students). Programs can be presented live via Zoom to LIT students.

After-School Tutoring Program
Partner: Outreach Center for Community Resources
Contact: Lori Chaffers, 
Activity: After-school tutoring program at Skyview Apartments - two days per week. 

Assemblies/Educational Presentations/Events (Virtual or In-Person)
Partner: McNichols Educational Plaza
Contact: Mina Ardestani, Principal,
Activity: Create and present virtual or in-person assemblies for McNichols Plaza, community partner grade school located in South Scranton. Projects can be aimed at grades 2-4. Topics of focus: presentations to 4th grade Science classes on STEM topics; visit to campus for students; other assembly topics. Additional partnership opportunities include seeking University students to serve as guest readers, to assist with projects during the day, and/or serve as guest speakers/presenters, and/or hosting a table for McNichol’s multi-cultural night.

University Student Facilitated Youth Dialogues
Partner: United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA – Leaders In Training Program; The University of Scranton Office of Community Relations
Contact: Nathan Masco, LIT Coordinator,; Carolyn M. Bonacci, Community and Civic Engagement Coordinator,
Activity: Create and facilitate a youth dialogue for middle/high school students from UNC’s “Leaders In Training” program and/or from other area middle/high schools. During this project, University students will participate in a University student non-partisan political dialogue; create dialogue topics (ideally related to course themes); participate in a facilitator training and small group meetings to review their facilitator guide; and host the dialogue.

Adult Education/ESL Tutoring
Partner: United Neighborhood Centers
Contact: Terilynn Brechtel, Director of Community Education,, 570-346-6203 or  
Activities: Volunteers for adult education tutoring, including virtual ESL tutoring, reading, writing, and citizenship education. 

University Student Mentors
Partner: Big Brothers Big Sisters of NEPA
Contact: Amanda Sivco, Program Supervisor,
Activity: Serve as a “Big” brother or sister to a “Little.” Must go through enrollment process and be able to meet fully in-person. Also open to partnering for other projects to offer education and mentoring to youth served by BBBS of NEPA. 

Health and Wellness Education for St. Joseph’s Center Employees
Partner: St. Joseph’s Center
Contact: Andy Hurchick, Administrator of Operations, 
Activity: St. Joseph's Center is seeking a partnership to continue their efforts to provide additional health and wellness offerings to employees. Topics can include physical and mental wellness, work/life balance, and other topics focused on improving health and quality of life for employees. 

Mentoring Program for LatinX Youth in 7th - 12th Grade
Partner: Marywood STARS
Contact: Jenny Gonzalez, 
Activity: Seeking mentors for LatinX Youth in 7th-12th grade on Tuesdays and/or Wednesdays from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at Elm Park Methodist Church, 712 Linden St. Scranton. Volunteers will have the opportunity for service hours, as well as leadership skill development. Must complete a STARS application, child abuse and criminal background clearances, and STARS mentor orientation. 

Capacity Building Projects

Pine Brook & South Side Small Business Profiles
Partner: United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA (UNC)
Contact: Chrissy Manuel, Director of Community Revitalization,
Activity: UNC is an Elm Street organization working on community revitalization and development in Scranton’s Pine Brook and South Side neighborhoods, and is seeking support to complete profiles of small businesses in these neighborhoods to create marketing materials to tell the story of small diverse businesses in the neighborhood.

Emergency Shelter and Low-Rent Housing
Partner: NEPA Youth Shelter
Contact: Maureen Maher-Gray,
Activity: NEPA Youth Shelter would like to create an emergency shelter and their own low-rent housing. Help with fundraising and PR work needed and there is also a need for student volunteers to help refurbish any property purchased (paint, lawn clean up, etc.).

Trail Promotion/Community Education
Partner: Lackawanna Heritage Valley
Contact: Owen Worozbyt, Trail & Environmental Project Manager,; Justin Topa, Community Engagement & Programs Manager,
Activity: Seeking assistance to help promote Lackawanna Heritage Valley trails, educational initiatives, local history, and trail etiquette. Communications support is needed to help engage community in programming and help provide important information to trail users. 

Data/Research Projects

Research/Survey for West Scranton Residents with NeighborWorks NEPA
Partner: NeighborWorks NEPA
Contact: Todd Pousley, Neighborhood Revitalization Manager,
Activities: NeighborWorks NEPA is an Elm Street designated organization working on a long-term revitalization plan in Scranton’s West Side neighborhood and is seeking support to help research/survey residents on community needs/programs (after-school activities, sports, intergenerational programming).
NeighborWorks NEPA is also working with the West Scranton neighborhood business community and students can support this work by assisting with outreach and/or assessing businesses’ needs for technical support.

Health Access and Resource Navigation
Partner: United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA
Contact: Jessica Wallo, 
Activities: Health access and resource navigation efforts for low-income individuals and families. 

Community Health Survey
Partner: The City of Scranton
Contact: Dr. Rachna Saxena,
Activities: A community health needs-based survey. 

Pine Brook Business Directory
Partner: United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA (UNC)
Contact: Chrissy Manuel, Director of Community Revitalization, and Holly Yorkonis, Community Revitalization Coordinator,
Activity: UNC is an Elm Street organization working on community revitalization and development in Scranton’s Pine Brook neighborhood and is seeking support to compile a Pine Brook business directory for community use. Support for this project can include compiling information on businesses in the Pine Brook neighborhood and developing a guide (physical and/or digital).

Client Sanctuary Design for Catherine McCauley Center
Partner: Catherine McCauley Center
Contact: Krista Murray,
Activity The Catherine McCauley Center is transforming office space to be a trauma informed space where Case Managers can meet with clients. For a CBL project, students will work on researching trauma informed design and working to implement design practices. 

Surveying Hill Section Residents with Hill Neighborhood Association
Partner: Hill Neighborhood Association (HNA)
Contact: Tim Schwartz, President, Hill Neighborhood Association,
Activity: Hill Neighborhood Association is planning a door-to-door survey of Hill section residents about their understanding of the neighborhood and the HNA and seeking student support to help canvas door-to-door to meet with Hill Section residents to share surveys.

Local History Research and Promotion
Partner: Lackawanna Historical Society
Contact: Mary Ann Moran Savakinus, Executive Director,; Sarah Piccini, Assistant Director,
Activity: Seeking collaboration on programming promoting local Scranton history, research, and interpretation. Specific focus can include (but not limited to) labor relations, immigration, and evolution of faith-based institutions in the region. Potential partnerships can include research collaborations, educational initiatives, and/or promoting programs to University students/younger age demographics. 

Data Analysis
Partner: Center for Health and Human Services Research and Action
Contact: Jennifer Passaniti, 
Activity: Data analysis on future projects, housing needs. 

Data Collection and Research Assistance
Partner: Meals on Wheels of NEPA
Contact: Lindsey Skripka,; Nicole Fetch, 
Activity: Assisting with community health initiatives, data collection and analysis, strategic planning, fundraising, and marketing endeavors. Research assistance is also desired for the program's needs assesment, survey disbursement, data collection and analysis. Organizational projects include marketing and outreach planning, strategic plan development and fundraising assistance. 

Assistance for Aging Population

Health and Wellness Classes for Seniors
Partner: United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA
Contact: Sarah Bodnar, Director of Community Health and Aging,
Activity: UNC is seeking a partnership to provide health and wellness classes to seniors at its Healthy Aging Campus in West Scranton. Offerings can include exercise, health, and wellness offerings. Additional partnerships/offerings can include other activities to build community and offer an opportunity for intergenerational engagement. 

 Aging in Place
Partner: NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania
Contact: Shane Powers,
Activity: Aging in Place would be a series of projects to support older adults remaining in the community. 

Visiting Hospice Patients
Partner: Allied Services Integrated Health System - Hospice and Palliative
Contact: Laurie Fleming,
Activity: Growing the No One Dies Alone program by having students vigil sit with patients that do not have family as they begin their final journey. 

Translation/Language Communication

Spanish/English Translation
Partner: McNichols Plaza
Contact: Mina Ardestani, Principal,
Activity: Seeking students with strong language skills or native Spanish speakers to assist during Parent Teacher conferences.

ESL/SCOLA Tutoring 
Partner: United Neighborhood Centers
Contact: Audrey Golosky, ESL Instructor,, 570-346-6203
Activity: Become a tutor or teacher to adult learners via telephone or zoom on reading, writing, citizenship education, and English as a second language. Qualifications necessary are fluency in English, good communication skills, an enthusiasm for teaching and learning, and (optional) basic understanding of Zoom or a willingness to learn. Responsibilities include completing a tutor training and commit to at least 2 hour per week. Instruction can take place remotely or in-person. 

Spanish Language Workshop for Latino Immigrant Families on College
Partner: S.T.A.R.S. Program (Students Together Achieving Remarkable Success)
Contact: Jenny Gonzalez, Program Director,
Activity: The S.T.A.R.S. program offers Hispanic and Latinx youth in grades 7th-12th grade the opportunity to explore their long-term goals while also providing support to parents and families. The STARS program offers parents workshops in Spanish that focus on important topics related to helping their students understand career paths and apply to post-secondary education. A course partnership can including developing a Spanish language presentation on related topics such as completing the FAFSA, understanding the college application process, or other related topics.

Technology Support for Small Businesses/Non-profits

Media Communications to Increase Engagement for Pine Brook
Partner: United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA (UNC)
Contact: Holly Yorkonis, Community Revitalization Coordinator,
Activity: UNC is an Elm Street organization working on community revitalization and development in Scranton’s Pine Brook neighborhood and is seeking support for media communications projects to increase content engagement. This project can include the development and implementation of social media campaigns, a social media calendar, and other communications outreach/support.

Cybersecurity Services to Small-Businesses 
Partner: Scranton Small Business Development Center (SBDC) 
Contact: Leigh Fennie, Business Consultant SBDC,; Keith Yurgosky, Business Consultant SBDC, 
Activity: Cybersecurity education for small businesses. Help support SBDC’s expansion of Cybersecurity services to existing small businesses impacted by COVID. Keith at SBDC helped develop the Scranton SBDC’s statewide cybersecurity assessment tool. The SBDC would like to identify how to expand to address the needs of local NEPA businesses.  



Additional In-Person/Direct Service Opportunities

The Center for Service and Social Justice maintains an ongoing list of local direct service/volunteer opportunities for students with a variety of community agencies. CBL faculty can provide students with guidance on which opportunities fit best with the particular student and course learning objectives. An annual Volunteer Fair with local non-profit community organizations is held during the fall semester that provides students the opportunity to learn more about community needs, including volunteer and site placements.  

View Current Direct Service Opportunities

Contact Pat Vaccaro (, Director of the Center for Service and Social Justice, for information on direct service opportunities.   

Examples CBL from AY 2021-2022

Fall 2021 Highlights: 

Dr. Patricia Wisniewski’s OT graduate students took on multiple partnerships: Scranton Public Library (Scott Thomas) consulting; Big Brothers Big Sisters (Amanda Sivco & Michelle Hamilton) consulting on big event; Boys & Girls Club of NEPA (Laura Gentile) recorded videos for kids; NEPA Youth Shelter (Maureen Mauer Gray) consult on needs to help support programming; Outreach (Jennifer Schumacher) consulting; Kick COVID Collaborative (consulting on health information accessibility) 

Dr. Brian Snee’s COMM 204 students worked with the Scranton’s Story, Our Nation’s Story project to interview various Scrantonians and then created profiled used for the “I am Scranton” online social media campaign.  

Dr. Roxana Curiel’s Service and the Hispanic Community course offered translation assistance and supported ESL/SCHOLA classes at UNC.  

Dr. Lori Walton’s PT 756.41 Profess Practice Issues in PT offered a multisession workshop at the Bhutanese Cultural Foundation Association on topics selected by community leaders.  

Dr. Chandra Nealon’s students in two sections of OT 230 Anatomy & Mech of Human Movement presented several activity/educational sessions within senior centers and high-rise buildings in the community in partnership with UNC’s Healthy Aging Campuses.   

Dr. Debra Fetherman’s HPRO 340, Advocacy and Health Communication partnered with the Autism Centers of Excellence hub to do a literacy assessment of center materials. Students researched, assessed center materials/accessibility, and made recommendations.  

Spring 2022 Highlights: 

Dr. Ovidiu Cocieru – 2 sections of Principles of Management and Entrepreneurship II (Mgt 352) working with Children’s Advocacy Center on QR code awareness campaign - organize and deploy QR code sticker campaign to share info/raise awareness about child abuse and CAC by placement of stickers on products sold by local businesses for Child Abuse Awareness month (April).  

Grad students in new Counseling faculty member Dr. Dana Brookover’s Career Counseling course area partnering with Junior Achievement of Northeastern Pennsylvania instructed JA lessons at 6 SSD schools.  

Dr. Debra Fetherman’s HPRO 340, Advocacy and Health Communication course continued partnership with the Autism Centers of Excellence hub to do a literacy assessment of center materials. 

Dr. Jong-Hyun Son’s and Dr. Vincent Farallo’s lab students offered a synapse presentation at McNichols Plaza May 12, 2022, with 6 stations to include microscopes and introduce our small lab animals, including crayfish, zebrafish, amphibians, and lizards. This event is for the entire McNichols Plaza 4th grade (60 students). In preparation for this event, Dr. Janice Voltzow’s Magis STEM students provided virtual presentations to McNichlos 4th grade students as a virtual assembly with Magis students sharing their current research and answering questions from 4th grade students.  

Dr. Declan Mulhall’s Royal Scholars students joined with UNC’s Leaders In Training (LIT) program for a start of semester “See Yourself In STEM” discussion to share their academic path, what they plan to do with it, and how they got started, and to hear from the LIT students about their plans. The group met again at the end of the spring 2022 semester for an update.  

Dr. Marlene Morgan (Nursing) continued partnership with NeighborWorks NEPA’s Aging in Place program to help design a Smart Home Technology program for adults aged 50+, with pre and post data collection to validate the need and continued work on the Safety Kit project.  

Dr. Jennifer Kaschak’s EDUC 371 Literacy Strategies students created and offered a series of 3 reading workshops at Scranton Children's Library on history, English/ELA, and math.  

3 OT professors working with UNC - Pine Brook Revitalization project:  

OT students conducted Block Level Assessment in Pine Brook on Feb. 26. First-year OT students from Dr. Patricia A. Wisniewski Ed.D., OTRL’s OT121: Occupational Performance courses were joined by third-year students from Dr. Deborah E. Budash Ph.D.’s OT 340, Promoting Health and Wellbeing courses that served as mentors and guides on this project. Students will share recommendations on how the area can best meet the needs of all residents and visitors. Dr. Chandra Ann Nealon’s OT 231 Neuroanatomy of Function course partnered with the first-ever Pine Brook Community Arts Festival on Saturday, Apr. 30 from 12 – 4 p.m. Sophomores from Dr. Nealon’s course hosted sensory art activities for kids.  

3 PT + 1 OT professors working with Bhutanese Cultural Foundation of Scranton Association: 

Building on the partnership from Fall 2022, Dr. Lori Walton was joined by faculty members Dr. Michael Bermudez (OT 461 Gerontology), Dr. Jennifer Schwartz (PT700/700L Applied Anatomy for PT), and Dr. Renee M. Hakim (PT) for an outreach event with the Bhutanese Refugees at the Bhutanese Cultural Foundation Association for a faculty-student health fair screening on April 10, 2022, from 12pm-2pm. This health fair involved a selection of volunteer DPT students that were involved in a training session about working with vulnerable populations in the refugee community, collaborative planning of the event, and direct participation in the screening process with the Bhutanese Community. All programming was in coordination and collaboration with foundation president Mr. Chandra Sitaula. 

Scranton’s Story, Our Nation’s Story CBL projects: 

Dr. Kim Pavlick’s COMM 224 Media Writing course completed additional “I am Scranton” profiles in spring 2022, building on the work of Dr. Brian Snee’s COMM 204 Research Methods students from fall 2021.  

Dr. Billie Tadros, English and Theatre faculty, along with her students offered a series of 3 writing/storytelling workshops at the NEPA Youth Shelter focused on identity and the relationship of youth to Scranton. These additional workshops build on the first offering by Dr. Hank Willenbrink, English and Theatre faculty, in fall 2021.   

Dr. Will Cohen’s capstone Theology course partnered with the Lackawanna Historical Society to research the history of Catholic parishes in Scranton along with the history of the Polish National Church. This work will support the “Scranton’s Religious and Ethnic Tapestry” theme.  

Note: This list of CBL related opportunities is not exhaustive. The Office of Community and Government Relations and Center for Service and Social Justice work together with the Office of CBL to both maintain this list and identify opportunities that fit a particular academic course or initiative. Contact Carolyn M. Bonacci ( for additional CBL partner/project ideas. 

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