First Posted: 12/4/2014
DALLAS — Students in the Social Work Club at Misericordia University are teaming up with social work students from Alvernia University in Reading and in Nepal as part of the Sahayogi Connections international service-learning project. The collaborative international exchange project is designed to expand their understanding of international social work practice by having them first examine social work practices in their local community.
One of the first stages of the project for the Misericordia students was a tour of both affluent and impoverished neighborhoods in and around the rural community of Noxen and a visit to the Pastor’s Food Pantry affiliated with the Noxen United Methodist Church. The pantry’s director, Pearl Race, conducted the tour.
As much as 9.2 percent of the population of Noxen Township, Wyoming County, and nearly 20 percent under the age of 18, are living below the federally established poverty line, according to Race. Because of the need, the food pantry serves an average of 60 to 80 families per month from Noxen and surrounding communities.
The student and faculty participants in the Sahayogi Connections Project are connected through a blog site where the students will respond to posted questions about their experiences studying social work in their community. The hope is that students will learn from each other and expand their understanding of international social work practice.
In a follow-up to their examination of rural poverty, the Misericordia University students will travel to see urban poverty in Reading during the spring semester.