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Service-Learning Recognition Breakfast
Honors Faculty, Students and Community Partners

RELEASED: May 2, 2008

EAU CLAIRE — Ten individuals recently received awards at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's 10th annual Service-Learning Recognition Breakfast, honoring more than 500 community partners, project supervisors and UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff mentors who have contributed to the success of the university's service-learning program.

The theme for this year's event was "Many Hands Make Light Work." Service-learning has been a graduation requirement at UW-Eau Claire for the past 12 years.

Don and Ruth Newville received the David G. Anderson Community Builder alumni award, which honors alumni who work in the non-profit sector. A $250 gift will be made in honor of the recipients to the non-profit employer. Paul and Chris Gilbertson received the David G. Anderson Community Service alumni award, which recognizes alumni for continued commitment to community service and volunteerism. A $250 contribution will be made to a charity of the recipients' choice. The David G. Anderson awards were made available by the Ruder Ware law firm to honor UW-Eau Claire alumnus and former UW-Eau Claire Foundation chairman David Anderson, who is vice chair of Ruder Ware.

The Newvilles lived in Uganda from 1994-99 and founded a medical clinic, which they continue to visit. They also sponsored a Ugandan student, Jacob Oboth, through college and law school in the United States. Oboth is now a lawyer working for the Ugandan government. An advanced practice social worker with Northwest Wisconsin HomeCare, Don Newville is also the founder of the Trinity Aid Community Network (, which assists the very poor in meeting their basic needs.

The Gilbertsons developed the new nonprofit With Wings and a Halo, REACH a Child. The organization has supplied books to areas hit by flooding, kits to shelters for victims of domestic violence, and books for police officers to distribute to children in crisis. The group plans to go nationwide with the BACK Packets (Become a Cheerful Kid) program, which distributes backpacks filled with 10-12 children's books to children in domestic crisis situations. It recently expanded to the Eau Claire area.

Senior Julianne Fuhrmann, Kaukauna, a math and economics double major, and sophomore Joseph Schmidt, St. Cloud, Minn., a German major with a minor in biology, received Student Excellence in Service-Learning awards.

Fuhrmann assisted students at the First Presbyterian Church's 3-5 Club and New Beginnings after-school program. She was a math tutor, assisted students with sign language and arts and crafts, and successfully worked with four middle-school girls to raise their grades.

On Joe Schmidt's third medical mission trip to Guatemala with HELPS International, he cleaned and sterilized surgical instruments, transported patients, assisted in the pharmacy and assembled stoves with roof exhaust pipes in homes with open fires. Children and adults had burns and significant pulmonary disease from the fires and smoke inhalation.

Excellence in Service-Learning as a Community Partner awards went to Mary Pengra, director of volunteers at Sacred Heart Hospital, and Bonnie Dockry, education program coordinator for the state Department of Public Instruction in the Wisconsin Educational Opportunity Programs regional office in Eau Claire.

Pengra coordinates the efforts of 300 active volunteers ages 14 and older. Her department reviews all applications, schedules and conducts interviews, and provides initial training and orientation for the volunteers. Pengra also serves as an officer for a statewide volunteer coordinators organization. Her work is supportive of college students and gives them opportunities to gain experience in the health care field.

Dockry has been central to the Early Identification, Talent Search, and Upward Bound programs and currently coordinates the GEAR UP program for all of Wisconsin. These programs work to identify, encourage and motivate academically "at risk" students to select and complete a college preparatory curriculum in high school and subsequently enroll in college. Fifteen UW-Eau Claire college students each year act as tutors/mentors to these students.

Raymond Hughes, management and marketing lecturer and director of the UW-Eau Claire Entrepreneur Program, and Dr. Eric Jamelske, UW-Eau Claire assistant professor of economics, received Faculty/Staff Excellence in Service-Learning awards.

Hughes has mentored more than 30 students in the last year and has also worked with student organizations engaged in community service-learning, including Students in Free Enterprise and Junior Achievement.

"Ray Hughes models what we hope all our graduates become: lifelong engaged, ethical and responsible citizens," said Dr. Donald Mowry, UW-Eau Claire director of service-learning. "He has been active in Rotary International, the Eau Claire United Way, the Eau Claire library and Regional Arts Center boards, and he has played many roles on the Eau Claire City Council.

Jamelske has served as a faculty mentor for more than 30 students in the last year. As faculty adviser to the student organization Beta Upsilon Sigma, he spearheaded a service-learning group project to promote community involvement. Last fall he volunteered to take part in a First-Year Experience/Center for Service-Learning integration pilot study to encourage more individuals to become organ donors. Jamelske also is involved in ongoing public economics research and projects to address community needs, including his research into health care reform and the use of fresh fruits and vegetables and local foods in school health and nutrition programs.

Through a Learn & Serve Collaboration grant, the Eau Claire Area School District partnered with the Center for Service-Learning for the past two years to bring service-learning to all levels of education. Hjordy Wagner, director of the project, along with teachers and students from two elementary schools and one high school, presented pilot projects during the recognition breakfast. Meadowview Elementary School's fifth-grade project was led by Deb Erickson. Cheryl Schmitt worked with fifth-grade students at Northwoods Elementary School. Mary Oehler and Memorial High School civics students focused their project on discouraging bullying in middle school.

Ashley Geitz, who will volunteer for two months with Cross Cultural Solutions in a child-centered placement in Bagamoyo, Tanzania, received the Mary Roelli Hilfiker Service Fellowship. Geitz also will work on a comparative analysis of child welfare services in Tanzania and the Chippewa Valley.

Barbara Thees received the Sally A. Webb International Service Fellowship. Thees will visit Ecuador this summer through the Experiential Learning Ecuador Program. She will volunteer in an Ecuadorian classroom, assist a teacher in a public school and teach students English skills and other topics such as health and sanitation.

For more information on UW-Eau Claire's service-learning program, contact Mowry at the Center for Service-Learning, 715-836-4649.



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