Current CBL Project Ideas

Fall 2021 CBL

As we continue to navigate the dynamic situation surrounding the spread of SARS-CoV-2, and in alignment with the University's "Royals Back Together" guidelines, Community Based Learning in Fall 2021 can return to in-person/off-site activities, abiding by any agency COVID protocols and can also continue remotely where applicable. 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 julie.cohen@scranton.edu or Carolyn M. Bonacci, coordinator of community and civic engagement at carolyn.bonacci@scranton.edu, to learn more about community partnerships for the Fall semester.

Fall 2021 CBL Project Ideas

Collecting Stories of Carbondale Residents 

Partner: NeighborWorks NEPA and Valley In Motion 

Contact: Todd Pousley, Neighborhood Revitalization Manager, NeighborWorks NEPA, tpousley@nwnepa.org and Gus Fahey, President, Valley In Motion, gus@valleyinmotion.org 

Activity: Recording stories (in both written and video form) from Carbondale residents as part of the nationwide Community Heart and Soul program during the fall of 2021. Seeking help from a few students or class of students in a communications/multimedia/writing/journalism program. Interviews need to be conducted in Carbondale.  

Trauma-Informed Community Development/Mental Health Awareness 

Partner: Lackawanna County Office of Youth & Family Services - Research & Development 

Contact: Lori Chafferschaffersl@lackawannacounty.org 

Activity: Lacka./Susq. Behavioral Health Program, in collaboration with Human Services Office, is working to create a trauma informed community. Seeking assistance coordinating and organizing resources to launch this project including trauma-informed training, physical space, and some research. Additional projects can cover any area related to mental health. Projects may include health promotion, community outreach, etc.  

Profiles/Survey of Scranton Religious Groups & Places of Workshop 

Partner: The University of Scranton Office of Community Relations 

Contact: Carolyn M. Bonacci, Community and Civic Engagement Coordinator, carolyn.bonacci@scranton.edu 

Activity: Surveying of Scranton neighborhoods to identify the places of worship to create a community resource with information on each. Additional details such as associated religious and/or ethnic organizations can be included. Project can also create profiles of Scranton places of worship to share as an additional community resource.  

 Artist Submissions and Promotional Campaigns  

Partner: First Friday Scranton 

Contact: Thom Welby, Executive Director, thomwelby@yahoo.com, 570-351-1784 

Activity: Student/university submissions/participation in First Friday events; promotional campaigns.    

 Creative Recorded Video Experiences and/or Presentations for Day Program Clients 

Partner: St. Joseph's Center  

Contact: Rich Brazill, Director of Volunteers, rbrazill@stjosephscenter.org, 570-342-8379 ext. 1466  

Activity: Create videos or in-person presentations for Day Program clients to provide community experiences (cultural meals/music/activities); insights into special topics (e.g. fishing, hobbies, travel); instructional tutorials used as preparation (e.g. cooking, crafts, exercise); and/or to provide a virtual experiences that clients may easily take part in (a mountain climb/hike, skydiving!) but will enjoy the experience. If recording, these will be used to offer clients interesting experiences to connect with the broader community and world. Volunteers could either video record the activity, or take still photos and edit creatively, or pass it along to our Community Outreach Coordinator, Jeanne, who can edit as well.  

 Surveying for Revitalization Pine Brook Neighborhood in Scranton 

Partner: United Neighborhood Centers, Lackawanna Historical Society 

Contact: Christina Manuel, Director of Community Revitalization, cmanuel@uncnepa.org 

Activities: Supporting UNC’s Safe, Clean & Green committee work plans by surveying neighborhood. This will include projects such as surveying trees, stop lights/signs, trash receptacles and litter in the neighborhood. This information will be used by UNC to make recommendations and plans for improvement.  This project will require students to be outdoors on site in target neighborhood.  

 Support for Special Projects 

Partner: Scranton Lackawanna Human Development Agency 

Contact: Lindsay Matuszewski, health services manager, lmatuszewski@headstartslhda.org; Shannon Taylor, staylor@slhda.org 

Activity: Seeking support for special community projects including workforce development projects, early learning placement in the classroom, and technology support.  

Assessing Pandemic Impact and Addressing Trauma 

Partner: St. Joseph's Center 

Contact: Sr. Maryalice Jacquinot, President/CEO, mjacquinot@stjosephscenter.org 

Activity: Seeking to connect with disciplines that might be able to address post-traumatic issues related to the pandemic experience and how it has impacted our community, particularly our aging population; and to identify ways to begin rebuilding a sense of community.

Adaptive Rideshare Program Ride Creation 

Partner: Lackawanna Heritage Valley 

Contact: Owen Worozbyt, Trail & Environmental Project Manager, oworozbyt@LHVA.org; Justin Topa, Community Engagement & Programs Manager, jtopa@LHVA.org 

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.  

 Music Inclusivity 

Partner: The NEPA Philharmonic 

Contact: Nancy Sanderson, Executive Director, nancylsanderson@gmail.com 

Activity: Assist the NEPA Philharmonic in identify ways to encourage inclusivity, specifically in the areas of attending live music and learning an instrument more inclusive.  

Profiles of Diverse Businesses / Landmarks 
Partner: The Office of Community Relations  

Contact: Carolyn Bonacci, Carolyn.bonacci@scranton.edu   

Activity: Profile diverse businesses, organizations and initiatives to be able to share this information out on university social media and internal channels.   

 Workshops for Local Refugee Communities 
Partner: Bhutanese Cultural Foundation 
Contact: Julie Cohen, julie.cohen@scranton.edu 
Activity: Provide a workshop or seminar as a class, student group and/or with faculty coordination on a range of topics (business, nutrition, mental health, etc.).  

Presentations to Middle/High School Students 

Partner: United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA – Leaders In Training Program 

Contact: Nathan Masco, LIT Coordinator, nmasco@uncnepa.org 

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. 

Assemblies/Educational Presentations/Events (Virtual or In-Person) 

Partner: McNichols Plaza 

Contact: Mina Ardestani, Principal, mina.ardestani@ssdedu.org 

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 3-5. Topics of focus: virtual presentations to 4th grade Science classes; (virtual) visit to campus for students; other assembly topics. Videos can be coordinated as live presentations or as recorded video presentations. 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 

United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA – Leaders In Training Program; The University of Scranton Office of Community Relations 

Contact: Nathan Masco, LIT Coordinator, nmasco@uncnepa.orgCarolyn M. Bonacci, Community and Civic Engagement Coordinator, carolyn.bonacci@scranton.edu 

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 (via Zoom with support of Office of Community Relations).   

 Adult Education/ESL Tutoring 

Partner: United Neighborhood Centers 

Contact: Terilynn Brechtel, Director of Community Education, Tbrechtel@uncnepa.org, 570-346-6203 or   

Activities: Volunteers for adult education tutoring, including virtual ESL tutoring, reading, writing, and citizenship education.  

Civic Education 

Partner: Scranton Public Library 

Contact: Jessica Serrenti, Director of Community Engagement, jserrenti@albright.org 

Activity: The Northeastern Pennsylvania Project for Civic Engagement is developing in-person and virtual community conversations and other events focused on civic education.  

 Children’s Programming 

Partner: Scranton Cultural Center 

Contact: Deborah Peterson, Executive Director, dpeterson@sccmt.org 

Activity: Support and creative content for children’s programming.  

 Educational Programming and Projects for Girl Scouts 

Partner: Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania 

Contact: Jessica Mislinski, Regional Director, jmislinski@gshpa.org 

Activity: Seeking educational programs and collaborations for local Girl Scout troops. Girl Scouts can earn merit badges for engaging in a variety of educational and social experiences; welcoming projects and programs to engage scouts.  

University Student Mentors 

Partner: Big Brothers Big Sisters of NEPA 

Contact: Amanda Sivco, Program Supervisor, asivco@bbbsnepa.org 

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.  

Career/Educational Presentations for Kids  

Partner: Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeastern Pennsylvania 

Contact: Laura Gentile, Director of Operations, lgentile@bgcnepa.org 

Activity: Work with kids! Creating videos in field of expertise (it is important to hear about different careers) for organization to share on our social media. Read a short story, tell a joke, do an art project, perform an exercise or make a healthy snack. Videos can be up to 5 minutes in length and be made at the volunteers’ leisure at the location of their choice.  

Community Organization Awareness Campaign/ Health Promotion Campaign on Child Abuse 

Partner: Children’s Advocacy Center 

Contact: Marsha Pigga, Executive Director, mpigga@cacnepa.org 

Activities: The Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) private, non-profit, charitable organization whose mission is to provide excellence in the assessment and treatment of child abuse and neglect, and to raise awareness around child abuse and neglect to promote prevention and intervention. The CAC is planning a capital campaign in 2 years to support the growth of the organization but currently is concerned that community is not aware of their organization, their work the community, and the services that they offer.  To this end, CAC is seeking marketing and communications support to raise community awareness of their organization and to share information on the prevention of child abuse and neglect.   

The CAC has also recently identified a way to share information about child abuse/neglect prevention with the community by creating stickers with QR codes (that lead to their website with prevention/intervention resources). CAC would like to reach out to Scranton businesses to participate in the awareness campaign by putting the stickers on their products (e.g., on a pizza box, doughnut box, coffee cup sleeve, on concessions at events). CAC is seeking a partnership to bring the QR sticker idea into fruition.  

Marketing & Communications Support for Local Government  

Partner: City of Scranton – Office of Economic and Community Development 

Contact: Tiffany Cross-Luciani, Director of Economic Development, tcluciani@scrantonpa.gov 

Activity: Supporting the promotion city of Scranton economic development projects such as Scranton Works with social media, communications, and marketing support.  

Non-profit Planning and Communications Support 

Partner: Scranton Area Community Foundation 

Contact: Brittany Pagnotti, Communications Manager, bpagnotti@safdn.org 

Activity: Seeking project-based support in the areas Communications, Development and/or Event Planning for initiatives such as NEPA Gives; assistance promoting the NEPA Animal Welfare Collaborative and/or help planning NEPA Gives 2022.  

Marketing & Communications Outreach Support 

Partner: Big Brothers Big Sisters of NEPA 

Contact: Amanda Sivco, Program Supervisor, asivco@bbbsnepa.org 

Activity: Assistance in fundraising/marketing events; assist with outreach for volunteers and youth and volunteer trainings.  

Trail Promotion/Community Education 

Partner: Lackawanna Heritage Valley 

Contact: Owen Worozbyt, Trail & Environmental Project Manager, oworozbyt@LHVA.org; Justin Topa, Community Engagement & Programs Manager, jtopa@LHVA.org 

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.  

Social Media/Marketing Support 

Partner: The NEPA Philharmonic 

Contact: Nancy Sanderson, Executive Director, nancylsanderson@gmail.com 

Activity: Seeking assistance with social media and marketing to help promote The NEPA Philharmonic including development of social media calendar/strategy, advice on how to capitalize on popular posts (such as virtual recorded performances), and promoting the return to in-person performances.  

Social Media/Website Development and Support 

Partner: The Greater Scranton MLK Commission 

Contact: Cathy Ann Hardaway, President, hardawayca@yahoo.com 

Activity: Assistance updating/developing website and social media presence to help promote the work of the Commission including special events. Potential other needs include the creation of a YouTube channel and providing instruction to managing Commission member(s) on how to maintain and continue to add these outlets once created. 

Researching Housing and Homeless Trends Related to Intersection of Wages and Housing 

Partner: Catherine McAuley Center 

Contact: Jenny Blanchard, Development/Volunteer Coordinator, jblanchard@catherinemcauleycenter.org 

Activity: Research project for an undergrad/grad student and/or faculty on housing and homeless trends as related to an intersection of wages and housing. With low wages and higher housing costs the inability for people to sustain housing is at an all-time high.  Research will be used to help lead and inform an advocacy project and to help identify potential government intervention to help address the rise in evections and homelessness in our community post pandemic.  

Health Promotion/Health Literacy 

Partner: Kick COVID-19 Community Corps 

Contact: Carolyn M. Bonacci, Community and Civic Engagement Coordinator, The University of Scranton, carolyn.bonacci@scranton.edu; Jennifer Iorio, Kick COVID-19 Community Corps,  jcawley474@gmail.com,; and Michelle McGough, Kick COVID-19 Community Corps, michellemcgough@comcast.net 

Activity: Working to promote receiving COVID vaccine and creating campaigns to provide health information literacy. Projects can include using data identifying unvaccinated residents in Lackawanna County to cultivate a health promotion campaign – project can include social media campaigns or other targeted outreach that can be shared through Kick COVID and partners. Additional projects can include supporting health promotion in target areas, identifying and stopping the spread of health misinformation, and creating content aimed at encouraging the 16–29-year-old demographic to receive the COVID vaccine. 

Outcome Studies Analysis  

Partner: Scranton Counseling Center 

Contact: Ron Colbert, Director, Forensic Services Department, Ronald.Colbert@scrantonscc.org 

Activity: Assistance with data/analyzing results from outcome studies (specifically from Criminal Justice). 

Trauma-Informed Community Data Analysis 

Partner: Lackawanna/Susquehanna Behavioral Health Program 

Contact: Alejandra Marroquin, Adult Behavioral Health Coordinator, marroquina@lsbhidei.org, 570-346-5741 ext. 1533 

Activity: Lacka./Susq. Behavioral Health Program, in collaboration with Human Services Office, is working to create a trauma informed community. This organization, along with many others in the area, has data on the impact of trauma within our community. Seeking assistance compiling and analyzing data to help inform the creation of a trauma-informed community.  

Local History Research and Promotion 

Partner: Lackawanna Historical Society 

Contact: Mary Ann Moran Savakinus, Executive Director, lackawannahistory@gmail.com; Sarah Piccini, Assistant Director, researchlhs@gmail.com 

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.  

Scranton Community Not-for-profit and Social Services Database 

Partner: United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA and University of Scranton Office of Community Relations 

Contact: Chrissy Manuel, Director of Community Revitalization at UNC, cmanuel@uncnepa.org; Carolyn M. Bonacci, Community and Civic Engagement Coordinator, carolyn.bonacci@scranton.edu 

Activity: There are many non-for-profit and social service agencies in the city of Scranton, however it is challenging to find all of these services in one place (website Neighborlypa.org does exist but may not be the best solution to promulgating this data and is challenging to fully access information). To address this gap, this project would seek ways to identify different services in the community to create a not-for-profit and social services directory for Scranton. To help provide access to those without technology the guides could be printed and shared through community-partner sites.  

Biographies of Hospice Patients 

Partner: Compassionate Care Hospice 

Contact: Cassie Kobeski, Volunteer Coordinator, cassie.kobeski@amedisys.com, 570-451-1031 

Activity: Students are on boarded as Hospice virtual volunteers and receive training to virtually interview Hospice patients in order to learn about their lives and create a short biographies for patients and their families. Total time commitment for biographies 3-6.5 hours with the option for students to continue contact through companionship calls to provide additional emotional support and companionship. 

Virtual & In-Person Programming/Presentations/Activities for Seniors 

Partner: United Neighborhood Centers 

Contact: Sarah Bodnar, UNC Community Health, sbodnar@uncnepa.org, 570-346-6203 

Activities: Seeking creative programming for seniors, including virtual options (population served prefers in-person programming). Potential programs can be educational presentations, multi-session workshops, tutorials on special skills, trivia nights, discussion groups, book clubs, music lessons/jam sessions, health/fitness, etc.  

Other activity can include creating “take home packets” for seniors with games, worksheets, informative handouts, etc. for seniors remaining in their homes.  

Addressing Senior Isolation  

Partner: Scranton Area Ministerium 

Contact: Phil Yevics, Secretary, secretary@scrantonareaministerium.org 

Activity: One of the challenges our community is facing is a senior isolation problem. Project will identify how community members and organizations can provide resources to get seniors and the aging population more engaged in the community.  

Spanish/English Translation 

Partner: McNichols Plaza 

Contact: Mina Ardestani, Principal, mina.ardestani@ssdedu.org 

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, agolosky@uncnepa.org, 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.  

Translation/Communication 

Partner: SLHDA/Early Learning Program  

Contact: Linda Prutisto, Early Learning Program Head Start/Early Head Start Director, lprutisto@headstartslhda.org, 570-963-6836 

Activities: (Remote) Translation Services 

Cybersecurity Services to Small-Businesses 

Partner: Scranton Small Business Development Center (SBDC) 

Contact: Leigh Fennie, Business Consultant SBDC, leigh.fennie@scranton.edu; Keith Yurgosky, Business Consultant SBDC, keith.yurgosky@scranton.edu 

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.  

Assistance Developing Online Health & Wellness Resources 

Partner: St. Joseph's Center 

Contact: Sr. Maryalice Jacquinot, President/CEO, mjacquinot@stjosephscenter.org 

Activity: Support St. Joseph’s Center Wellness Initiatives by assisting in the development of online resources.  

Website/Advertising/Social Media Support 

Partner: Boost Business NEPA 

Contact: Stacy Smulowitz, Education Initiative Chair, stacy.smulowitz@scranton.edu 

Activity: Boost Business NEPA provides resources to non and for-profit organizations in Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties who are in need of a variety of services. The connection to CBL is really only limited by the imagination of the faculty and the clients at the time. Any need that a non or for-profit organization might have is on the table. That includes help managing finances (accounting), human resources, marketing, PR, social media, advertising, entrepreneurship, etc. 

App Development 

Partner: Italian App (name TBA)/Italian-American Podcast 

Contact: Stephanie Longo, slongo@italianpower.com 

Activity: Assist with the development of Italian App (name TBA) that is a one-of-a-kind app that seeks to connect Italians all over the world with specialized services uniquely tailored to their home neighborhoods and beyond. The goal of this app is to serve as a digital piazza for the Italian diaspora, both in the United States and beyond. As the piazza or “town square” is the focal point for life in any given town in Italy, so, too, will this app be the center for Italian life abroad, giving English-speaking people of Italian origin a place to connect, converse, and discover the unique aspects of Italian heritage worldwide via crowdsourcing as well as pre-placed entries prior to launch.  

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 (patricia.vaccaro@scranton.edu), Director of the Center for Service and Social Justice, for information on direct service opportunities.   

Examples of Virtual/Remote CBL from Spring 2021

Scranton Business Inventory (Project-Based/Research) 

Activities: Students in 2 sections of Dr. Ovidiu Cocieru’s Marketing & Mgmt. courses worked to create an update Scranton Business Inventory to support the revitalization and small-business support work of the City of Scranton and multiple additional community-partners.  

Non-profit Social Media Support 

Activities: Students from Dr. Brian Snee’s COMM 265:  Social Media Communication course took on non-profit Valley In Motion as a “real world” client and worked to cultivate an updated social media presence for the organization.  

City Walkability Study/Library Accessibility Study  

Activity: Students in 1 section of Patricia Wisniewski’s OT121: Occupational Performance course partnered with the City of Scranton to perform a walkability study on key access points into the city of Scranton and within Nay Aug Park. Students in another section of this course partnered with the Scranton Public Library to perform an accessibility study on Library facilities to help improve the experience of patrons with diverse abilities.  

Virtual K-12 Student Engagement 

Activity: Janice Voltzow’s Magis honors students offered live virtual presentations via Zoom to students in Amanda Montro’s 4th grade class at community-partner school McNichols Plaza.  

Activity: Declan Mulhall’s Royal Scholars students met via Zoom with UNC’s “Leaders In Training” students to offer “See Yourself in STEM” – virtual presentations on STEM careers followed by small group discussion on college and career planning and opportunities.  

Activity: Loreen Wolfer’s students in SOC 317: Family Issues and Social Policy course planned and executed two dialogues via Zoom for students in UNC’s “Leaders In Training” program. To prepare for this experience, students attended campus virtual dialogues, attended facilitator training, and met with members of the Political Dialogues Working Group to cultivate original questions for the youth dialogue.  

Community Health Education/Health Promotion 

Debra Fetherman converted many of her CBL activities from the past academic year to virtual formats:  

  • Pop-Up Wellness Facilitator Guide for Saint Joseph's Center to implement brief wellness breaks throughout the workday. 
  • Developed employee physical activity interventions for the Saint Joseph's Center Employee Wellness Program. 
  • Assisting in the research and development of fitness and wellness app created by University of Scranton alumni. 
  • Developed exercise/wellness education sessions for community Parkinson's clients.  Presented/taped sessions on ZOOM.  
  • Created a food prescription program to integrate with health clinic patients and food pantry participants. 
  • Researched potential health/wellness resources for the college-age population such as flyers/infographics/handouts to use for patient education.  Evaluated the readability and comprehensiveness of each resource.  Provided a list of resources. 
  •  Created a trauma informed guide for employee training which included resources for further study and to use with clients. 
  • Social media campaign on wellness for college-aged population.

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 (carolyn.bonacci@scranton.edu) for additional CBL partner/project ideas.