Social work students put learning into action to plan We Love Lima Pick-up Project
This spring, students from the “Generalist Practice with Larger Systems” class stepped out of the classroom and into the community to develop and implement the We Love Lima Pick-up Project.
Ohio State Lima social work students Jason Adams, Megan Fisher, Lauren DiLullo and Devin Pierce planned a project that they hoped would contribute to a sense of pride in the community and encourage both residents and non-residents to visit the area and the local businesses it is home to.
“It's important to apply what we are learning in class to the real world because that's why we wanted to become social workers in the first place,” said Adams, who grew up in the area that was part of the clean-up. “This project fulfilled that need on all levels as it positively affected every business, local, and non-local that came downtown to visit, or just drives through.”
The students were applying what they learned in the classroom to the needs of the community and gained valuable experience to apply to their future careers in social work.
“With this project, we got the experience of community organizing, needs assessment, getting donors, volunteers, and figuring out a budget,” Pierce said. “When we are expected to perform such duties in our professional life, we will be more comfortable with the task having actually done it before opposed to just reading about it.”
The planning group reached out to multiple groups and organizations on the campus and in the community to bring the project together, including the Social Work Club, the Lima Family YMCA, Allen Soil and Water Conservation District, Central Lima Neighborhood Association, Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce, Visit Greater Lima, ACE Hardware, Padrones and the Campus Activity Board. In total, they garnered nearly four dozen volunteers.
Doing the project and asking others to join in was also a way to thank the community that has been their home while they study.
“Although I’m not a resident of Allen County, I still gained my education from here and wanted to give back to the community,” said DiLullo.
The student organizers were part of a social work class taught by Nancy Stephani.
“This was a large group organization class,” Stephani said. “It assisted students in developing the skills to identify issues and organize solutions in communities and groups.”
Other projects from this semester’s class included a program for survivors of house fires, domestic violence awareness, food insecurity working with a local foodbank and food insecurity working with providing healthy foods.