Probably the cutest event the Center for Community Engagement hosts is Book Buddies. Sonoma State service-learning students from Dr. Jessica Hobson's Psychology course entitled Life Span Development pair up with second and third grade students from Meadow View Elementary School for a day of fun literacy activities at Sonoma State. The SSU students studied all semester about physical, social, and mental human development. The service-learning project works as another text for the course, connecting the student's studies with real life and their local community.
The children were mesmerized from the excitement of being on a college campus and interacting with cool young-adults, all the while learning about the importance of reading and writing! After reading a book, kindly borrowed from the University Library, students working together create their own book. The children's creativity can shine as they write and illustrate their own short story with help from their SSU counterparts. This portion of the day allows the SSU students to fully interact with the young kids. They're able to see where in the stages of development the elementary schoolers are, just as they have learned in class. Lastly, Laurie Cameron of the Rohnert Park Cotati Regional Library performed the art of storytelling for the students.
"Because of Book Buddies I have come to realize how essential this stage in a child's life is and the importance of helping them as much as we can. As an additional note while reflecting on my personal experience, I noticed I acted differently with my siblings this past weekend. I did not mind reading them a bedtime story as I usually would have and I noticed small things they did that reminded me of the material we learn in class. In a way, it helped put together what I learn in class into my own personal life and that is one of the best ways to learn." - SSU service-learning student Dulce Palacios Aristondo
Once the elementary school students head home, the service-learning students complete the final, and arguably most important portion of the project, the reflection. Students discuss with each other and their professor exactly how their learning inside the classroom compared and paralleled with their learning outside the classroom. SSU student Sophia said, "This event allowed us to connect what we've learned in class to real life, taught us, as college students civic lessons and was also a form of community service to the Rohnert Park community. This experience really affected me in terms of my own personal growth, identity development and maturing moral identity because I was able to really see how much of an effect I can have on one mind." Another service-learner named Marina reflects, "The debrief really helped me see the impact we made on the kids. I also witnessed many different things that I read about in our book regarding middle childhood and literacy."
Book Buddies was a huge success thanks to the University Library, Dr. Hobson, her students, and storyteller Laurie Cameron. Thank you for your dedication to the CCE, civic learning, and our community!
See more pictures from this event here.