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Emory and Henry Annual Report

Page history last edited by cmiller@ehc.edu 11 years, 4 months ago


Annual Report – Programmatic Section



Implementation of Student Development: 



Student Development, Training, and Enrichment


  1. A.                 Training


    New Bonners, including first-year students and transfers, participated in a three-day New Bonner Orientation.  On the first day, students receive a general overview of the Bonner Program, which includes history, requirements, service site information, site placements, and developing personal and group commitments.  We also provide an informational Q&A session for parents.  Dinner is held for the entire group at Tal Stanley’s residence, where the new Bonners can become acquainted with their new Bonner family.  On the second day, there was a service trip to the community of Fries, Virginia to further develop and instill the new students understanding of community, economic development, and service learning.  On the final day, the students do more community building exercises as well as a group reflection on the service trip and finish with a ceremony where they sign a commitment contract to the Bonner Program. 


    B.                 Enrichment


    Bonners have several opportunities to participate in educational lyceum and special events throughout the school year.  Lycea that Bonners attended this year dealt with issues such as American foreign policy, HIV/AIDS issues, and sexual identity.  Bonners also participated in a variety of social justice related events, including a Take Back the Night event, a Mental Health Walk, and a Cardboard City, all in conjunction with Emory Serves Week. 


    C.                 Reflection


    Each Bonner class group met once a week, for ten weeks each semester; reflection sessions last one hour.  The reflection curriculum is designed to support the Bonner developmental model and Common Commitments.  First-year Bonners explore community building and relational trust.  As sophomores begin developing the skills to be more analytical and reflective, they explore in reflection questions of personal values.  Part of this involves ongoing conversations about how values are shaped, and how values influence service and academic work.  Juniors explore the importance of relationships and the significance of relationships to their work as Bonners.  Seniors begin to reflect on their own spiritual changes and developments, connecting that to their changing understandings of service and justice.  From this, seniors then move to a consideration of their developing spirituality and an exploration of their sense of calling and vocation.  All Bonners also complete several written journals each semester, dealing with a variety of social and personal issues and the relation to their service work.  Bonners also had three All-Bonner meetings during each semester in which they heard from members of the community about their stories of service, education and many other important parts of a college and life-journey.


    D.                Senior Bonners’ Presentation of Learning Event


    The seniors spent their final spring semester reflecting on their time at Emory & Henry College and the Bonner Program.  As a culmination of this reflection process, we held the Senior Capstone Presentations in late March.  This year, the seniors decided to have a singular presentation, done in collaboration to increase the efficacy and brevity of the Capstone. The seniors created a Power Point presentation, and wrote prose and poetry for the ceremony.  All of their remarks were presented to the rest of the Bonner students, their parents, E&H faculty and staff, and other community members with whom they had worked.  The seniors also included a memorial for their former classmate, Josh Smith. Josh's family was in attendance and remarked how special it was that the seniors would want to remember Josh this way. A reception was held afterwards in honor of the seniors and the good work they had accomplished.  This year, roughly 80 faculty, staff, students, and community members attended the event.  


    E.                 Service Site Placement and Service Teams


    This year, our first year students were divided in the fall into four groups that would work as teams in different placements.


    First-Year Service Trip


    A.                 Description


    First-year Bonners, for the sixth year, traveled to New York for a week of service and learning.  We left our campus late on the evening of May 10 to travel to Lynchburg, where we boarded an Amtrak train en route for Penn Station, New York City.


    Prior to the trip, students spent time in reflection meetings preparing for the trip.  As a group, they learned about and discussed the general issues of poverty and homelessness, drawing on their own experiences thus far in their service as Bonners.  We gave attention to such topics as the working poor, American urban culture, cultural diversity, New York City history, geography, art and culture, and general NYC information. 


    While in the city, we worked with a variety of programs for the homeless and working poor, including shelters, soup kitchens, and thrift stores.  Our work was coordinated through the Youth Service Opportunities Project, or YSOP.  YSOP set up a three-day work camp for our group, provided our students with an orientation to the issues of poverty in the city as well as an introduction to their service sites.  This year, YSOP let us write our own reflection curriculum for the end of each work day. This was a great success and our students responded with deep thinking to the critical questions we posed. Our work with this organization provided strong and meaningful experiences for our students. 


    With the previous trips to New York being such successes, we wanted to give our first-year Bonners the same opportunity to experience community service in an urban setting, hoping that they would be able to see that the root causes of poverty are the same in New York City as they are in rural Southwest Virginia.  Our students did gain some insight into the issues of homelessness and poverty and made important connections between the rural and urban aspects of those issues.  By the end of the week, the students had taken part in a service experience that they would remember for the rest of their lives. 


    Students underwent a rare educational experience, demonstrating a remarkable change in attitudes from the beginning to the end of the week.  To observe their response to questions and issues of consumer culture, social justice, homeless individuals and families, or just to the city as a whole, a movement from bewilderment and apprehension to compassion and enjoyment was deeply gratifying.  This was a transformative experience for the students.  The trip also provided many opportunities for staff to bond with the students in ways that are not possible during the school year.  We had no major discipline problems this year.  Overall, the experience was a positive one for all involved.



Implementation of Community Partnerships: 


Community Service Placements and Partnerships




Following is a list of the major sites in the surrounding communities where Emory & Henry College Bonner Scholars are heavily involved.  This fall, the Appalachian Center for Community Service hosted a Community Partners breakfast meeting for all of our partner agencies.  During this breakfast, we discussed the developmental model and the guidelines and expectations of our Bonner Scholars and their service to the community.  Very well attended, the event provided opportunities for partners to discuss current issues and needs, as well as goals and strategies for our future work together.


Emory & Henry Afternoon Academy

Afternoon Academy is an after school enrichment program currently serving sixth-graders that seeks to ease the transition between elementary and middle school.  Participants come to campus twice a week to participate in organized student and tutorial time, recreation and games, and structured group activities.  Bonner Scholars are at the heart of this organization, representing over half of the volunteers.  They serve as mentors to their “buddies,” with which they are paired for the entire semester.  Bonner Scholars help other college students oversee the daily management of the program, playing key roles in the development of the programming and scheduling.


Emory & Henry Tutoring Program

Tutors are trained to tutor elementary, middle, and high school students in areas of math, reading, science, and social studies.  Bonner Scholars are assigned 2-4 students (depending on preference and availability) with which they work at least twice a week.  Bonner Scholars travel to local schools and tutor during “free” time, offering one-on-one help to any willing student.


Boys and Girls Club of Bristol

The Boys and Girls Club of Bristol serves as a safe place for youth to gather and socialize after school and over weekends.  Bonners volunteer at both Bristol and Abingdon, Virginia club sites.  Bonners serve as tutors, mentors, and game leaders.  They organize and supervise a wide variety of group activities. 


River’s Way

River’s Way is an outdoor adventure camp that sponsors weekends for groups of differently abled high school students.  Bonners help plan the weekend events and spend the semester learning about persons with mental and physical challenges.  During the weekend retreats, Bonners are paired with a high school student, helping with tasks from brushing teeth to completing group initiatives courses.  Bonners serve as friends and guides as their partners complete challenges that allow for their full participation in a world from which they are typically kept away.  Volunteers meet several times during the semester to prepare for the intense and emotionally demanding weekends.  They also visit area high schools and have lunch with the will-be-participants.



Valley Health Care Center

Valley Health Care is one of the largest assisted living facilities in the area.  Bonners have a number of options for work there, and VHC relies heavily on our student volunteers to offer more personal attention to its residents.  Bonners organize recreational and other types of group activities, assist with meals, deliver and read mail to residents, and build one-on-one relationships with residents who lack a core group of close relatives and/or regular visitors. 


Ecumenical Faith in Action

EFIA provides a number of services to hundreds of families throughout the area.  A large food bank, fuel assistance, home repairs, and a number of medical assistance programs are all based through the Abingdon center.  Bonners serve this facility in a number of capacities.  Many volunteer with the weekly operations of the food bank, which provides food to nearly 400 families a month.  Others provide transportation for elderly citizens to doctor’s offices or for trips to the pharmacy.  Still others spend time with shut-ins of the community providing in home services in order to allow family members to go out for a while.


Busy Little Bees Daycare Center

BLB provides daycare to families in the Emory community.  Every weekday, Bonner students along with a few employees of the daycare provide a nurturing environment for the children at the daycare.  Bonners are involved in every aspect of the understaffed daycare and are a vital resource to the only daycare facility open in the Emory community.


Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County

During the school year and the summer, a handful of Bonners spend a great amount of time with their little brothers or sisters.  Most of the volunteers spend their time tutoring and mentoring.  The Bonners who work at this site, speak very highly of the impact this work has on them, and the opportunities it gives them to develop relationships with youth in need of a friend outside of their home.



Other Partnerships

It should be noted that two of our strongest community partnerships are with Big Creek People in Action in Caretta, WV, and Meadowview First in Meadowview, VA.  These sites provide a range of opportunities for our students from occasional volunteer to project leadership and practicum experiences.  Both agencies are committed to policy change and social justice and serve as two of our most dependable and educational partners.




Campus-wide Culture and Infrastructure: 



Academic Links






Following is a list of service courses with which the Appalachian Center has worked directly and/or for which the Center has offered logistical support during the 2007—2008 academic year.


ACCT 310 Taxation

EDUC 116 Field Experience/Tutoring

ENG 101-03 Writing

ENG 101-05 Writing

ENG 231 Studies in Poetry

ENG 317 Literature for Children

ENVS 100 Introduction to Environmental Studies

GEO 240Cartography

GNST 100 Introduction to Collegiate Studies (The Appalachian Center staff organized, implemented, and coordinated the Inaugural Day of Service, designed for all first-year students as well as the general campus community.)

HIST 316 History and Geography of Virginia and Tennessee

MCOM 250 Women and the Media

MCOM 350 Public Relations

MCOM 404 Advanced Publication Design

PHED 211--01 Foundations of Health and Safety

PHED 211--01 Foundations of Health and Safety

PHED 222 Recreation, Health, and Physical Education

PHED 232 School and Community Health

POLS 103 Politics of the United States

PPCS 100 Introduction to Public Policy and Community Service

PPCS 200 Community Organizing

PPCS 250 Politics and Public Policy (also listed in Political Science)

PPCS 300 Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality

PPCS 345 Sustainable Development

PPCS 400 Senior Practicum

PPCS 450 Senior Seminar

PSYC 220 Child Development

PSYC/EDU 305 Human Growth and Development (fall and Spring)






Program Plan


Growing from its affiliation with the other programs coordinated through the Appalachian Center for Community Service, the Bonner Scholars Program at Emory & Henry will increasingly focus its place-based work on questions and issues of public policy.  Over the next several years, I envision a higher accountability from service placements, a greater policy-focused intentionality among students, and a more deliberate re-tooling of all aspects of the Center’s program to support work in four policy areas.


Responding to recommendations from our community partners and perspectives gained in eleven years of place-based work, the Center’s program increasingly gives students and communities the intellectual, moral, and civic skills necessary to identify, examine, and address the root causes of poverty in Southwest Virginia, Appalachia, and beyond the region.  This work necessitates initiatives in four distinct policy areas: health care, public education, energy and the environment, and sustainable economic development.  Over the next five to ten years, the Bonner Scholars Program at Emory & Henry College, with help from all quarters, will increasingly focus its work to meeting this goal and bringing resources to bear in each of these policy areas. While we have begun this work, there is much more work to be accomplished.


For more information about this initiative and this vision for future work, I encourage persons to refer to Emory & Henry College’s 2008-2009 proposal for Bonner Enrichment Funds.



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