1:48 p.m., April 15, 2010----Emily Fenn, an Elementary Teacher Education major at the University of Delaware, has been volunteering in her community since she was a child.
“I think it's so important to help others and use the resources that I've been so lucky to have throughout my life,” Fenn said. “I think it's really important for us to give back and give other people opportunities they may not have had if we didn't reach out and help.”
Fenn's efforts haven't gone unnoticed. The college sophomore was recently featured in a news story about volunteerism, which aired on NHK, also known as the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. NHK is a public broadcast company that produces radio, television and online news for the Japanese public throughout the world.
The news story touches on President Barack Obama's volunteerism initiatives, but focuses on Fenn and one of her classes in the School of Education, EDUC 259. One of the course requirements is to complete a field placement in the community, where students spent time volunteering at the West End Neighborhood House in Wilmington.
Prof. Eugene Matusov, who teaches the course, was contacted by NHK about using his class in their story. The NHK television crew followed his students around for a day, filming both a classroom discussion and students at their field placement location. The story aired on Jan. 7.
"I thought it was a very different experience," commented Fenn about being featured for this story. "The concept of them wanting to have their youth more involved in community service was very interesting.”
Although a field placement is required for EDUC 259, education students also have the option of taking EDUC 258, without a practicum, which fulfills the same requirements for the major. Matusov says that by choosing the class with the practicum, the students have demonstrated more commitment and activism in their own learning as future teachers.
"I think that volunteerism is important because it promotes education for agency in the students," he said. "It makes their learning more meaningful, more ontological and more relevant."
Fenn says even though she fulfilled the field placement requirement last semester, she still plans to continue to volunteer at the West End Neighborhood House. She says while it was exciting to be featured in a news story for NHK, there are plenty of people who volunteer in the UD community who don't receive recognition. She calls the opportunity to volunteer at West End Neighborhood House an amazing experience.
"It was very interesting to see what these kids are going through and how I could help them,” Fenn said. "I think overall, this class and experience has made a really significant impact in my life."
To see the story that aired on NHK, which is in Windows Media Video format, click here.
Article and photo by Cassandra Kramer
Video courtesy of Eugene Matusov and NHK