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Oh, the Things You will Learn: Taking Undergraduate Research to the Homeless Shelter
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This article describes how a small group of students participated in a service-learning research project that culminated in the development of an educational intervention for volunteers who staff homeless shelters in the local community. By interacting with the homeless population and the volunteer staff who provide their care, students developed a greater understanding of the needs of the homeless, recognized some mental health disorders, and interacted with volunteer staff to assess their educational needs (Authors).
Teaching research to undergraduate students has been described as a challenge. This article describes how a small group of students participated in a service-learning research project that culminated in the development of an educational intervention for volunteers who staff homeless shelters in the local community. By interacting with the homeless population and the volunteer staff who provide their care, students developed a greater understanding of the needs of the homeless, recognized some mental health disorders, and interacted with volunteer staff to assess their educational needs. Students were able to learn the research process through their participation in this collaborative project. The students' learning exceeded typical outcomes, as they displayed leadership skills and advocacy in areas of social justice and made compassionate connections with this vulnerable population. These students also forged new territory for future students who will be working with homeless populations and those who minister to them (Authors).
Journal
2013
52
6
342-345
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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services