ACADEMICS | Senior Project | Project SamplesCharitable Web: A student with web design interest and skills locates a non-profit ministry agency with a very out dated web site. Concerned that this may actually be working against the ministry by not presenting them well, the student contacts the agency and offers to design a new website for them. The student meets with the ministry leaders, volunteers, and with some of the community they serve in order to get a full and realistic picture of who the ministry is. They work to design a website that reflects the real and working vision of the ministry and gift it to the agency. They also offer their services for the following six months to maintain and alter the new site as needed.
Arts Exposure/Explosion: This student volunteers with BridgeTown Kids Ministries in North Portland on a Saturday with the Manna Truck. In a few conversations with the kids he realizes that they have never been to a dance or drama production down town. One child is very interested in being an actor when he grows up and yet has never been to a play. This student determines to meet with the Manager at the apartment complex and with the Bridgetown Staff to identify four children who might benefit from exposure to the arts in a new format. After meeting with the children he contacts local arts agencies and arranges for the children, along with at least one of their parents, to attend a performing arts performance downtown. In at least one situation he is also able to arrange for the child to go backstage and meet some of the actors.
Read In: A drama student encounters a blind sr. citizen on a visit to her grandmother at a retirement home. Realizing that the blind do not get the opportunity to "watch" plays she becomes passionate about giving blind senior citizens an opportunity to "hear" meaningful stories read aloud. She contacts two retirement homes and arranges five weeks of readings in each home. Working with the staff to identify vision-impaired residents she invited each of the residents to a room she reserves at each facility. During these evenings she provides dramatic readings of a section from a classic piece of literature. Before and after the readings she provides opportunities for connection and discussion. On some weeks she includes other sensory stimulation by having music or smells befitting the content to add to the experience for the seniors.
Swap Shop: Encountering frustration with the amount of housewares and gently used furniture that fills landfills two students chose to arrange a swap shop. Advertising in their church bulletins and among their neighbors, they set a date and guidelines by which people can bring items that they no longer need and swap them for items they are currently hoping to attain. In their advertising they sought to raise awareness regarding recycling useable products and educate their communities about the excesses they saw close to their own homes. They offer to pick up items prior to the set date and arranged four drop-off locations at area churches. They work with local law enforcement to set up two large tents on a cul-de-sac central to their churches and neighborhoods. On the set date they set the tents up and invite people to show up with their items for swapping.
Performance Art: Struck by the numerous "Palm Reading" stands at Saturday Market in downtown Portland two students decided to set up a "Dream Big" stand offering information on how to "make ones' dreams come true." At the stand they offer information about community resources and educational opportunities for things such as resume writing, goal setting, and how to make a life vision statement. They produce some helpful materials to hand out. In addition they also offer to pray for people who stop by and, if people wish, they may add their dream/vision to a dream/vision "tree" by tying a small paper with the vision written on it to a large branch they have at the booth. When they do so the students agree to pray that they will be guided successfully along their journey. They connect with several leaders in churches and find services that might speak uniquely to individuals stopping by the booth. They provide information on those churches and ministries as well as inspirational books and Bibles to give away at the booth.
Sweatshop Fashion Show: This student watched a documentary highlighting some of the human rights abuses exacerbated by several prominent clothing companies' obsession with the bottom line. Feeling a stirring within them for justice and recognizing the fact that these companies products fill their own drawers and closets, this student researches the companies with the best and worst practices and then organizes a 30-minute program that takes the form of a fashion show with a run way where the M.C. describes the reality of what it takes to make the clothes that each model is wearing. A flyer provides an overview of the problem and includes ten companies that fall into the best practices category. The event is combined with a petition and a clothing drive that supports a local shelter for homeless teens.
Free Geek Gift: A student who loves to build and maintain computer systems hears about "Free Geek" which is a service that gives away computers in return for volunteer service. The student arranges a used computer equipment drive through his school and church and collects old printers, monitors, and other equipment for a month. He then takes the materials to Free Geek and gives them one month of volunteer work (totaling approximately 20 hours). At the end of his volunteer time he is given a free computer that he then donates to a non-profit agency who is in need of a computer.
Jedi Camp: Inspired by a Jedi Camp offered at a local school a student determines to use the spiritual messages underlying the Star Wars movies to develop a curriculum for a leadership camp geared towards elementary aged boys. Working with a mentor he develops a curriculum for a three-hour camp, recruits other leaders, gathers materials needed from community members and businesses, and invites students identified by local pastors as boys who need older roll models. On a Saturday he leads the campers through fun events that also involve a teaching element. At the end of the day he provides a wrap up of the leadership principles learned. He makes four follow up calls to each of the boys in the following months and works to help them connect with mentors in their lives who can help them continue to grow and develop.
Soccer Camp: This student becomes aware of the fact that there are entire neighborhoods full of kids who have little or no opportunities to attend sports camps. So, she recruits a small group of varsity soccer players and coaches and organizes a free two-day soccer camp at the local school. Included is a healthy lunch with a helpful 10-minute interactive presentation about the importance of nutrition for athletic development geared toward elementary kids.
Research-Survey: With the help of his math and computer teachers a student develops a survey that can be given to individuals who are targeted as recipients of a start-up non-profit's ministry (individuals living in shelters). Once the survey is developed to target their specific needs the student works with the directors of 5 local shelters, delivers the surveys, trains the directors how to administer them, then returns one month later to gather the data. Data input and analysis is done to determine the specific needs of the ministry's constituents. The student writes a formal research report synthesizing and analyzing the data and donates it to the non-profit for its business plan.
Community Garden: This student hears that 20% of their town lives under the poverty line and are significantly less likely to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables because of the high cost of produce. So, after gathering support from the elders of their local church, she gathers a mission team that commits to work for three hours each week from April to September on a community garden on their church property. Not only are they able to provide a sack of fresh vegetables for 10 families each week for more than three months but they also can fruit, jams, beans, and salsa to distribute during the winter months.
Soup and Justice: This student has a love for pottery and a concern for fairly traded food and drinks. So, utilizing connections they have at a local pottery lab, they organize a Saturday where their youth group makes bowls and mugs with the help of some art students from the local university. After each bowl and mug is glazed and fired, they organize a community soup lunch with live music, coffee, hot tea, and iced tea. All of the soup, coffee, and teas are purchased from fair-trade companies and are highlighted on centerpieces on each table. The proceeds from the event are going to a non-profit that works with third world coffee and tea providers to advocate for living wages for all of their laborers.
Math tutoring: This student has a love for math and a gift for being able to take complex ideas and communicate them in ways that others are able to understand. So, he connects with a local shelter for women and children and provides some math tutoring each Monday night for the spring semester. Math grades improve for these students by an average of 20% and the idea sparks a partnership between the shelter and the local university to provide other tutors who volunteer two hours a week through the school year in a range of topics (from English-Literature to Math and Science).
Wood Ministry: This student learns from their local Love Inc. that 5 families in their town are in need of wood that provides the sole source of heat during the winter months. As an athlete, she possesses "body smarts" and recognizes that she always experience a deep sense of joy whenever she works hard outside. Gaining permission to attend a local pastors meeting, she shares her vision for providing wood for these ten families and provides a flyer that goes into the worship bulletin of seven churches the very next week. Over the next three months this student organizes four work parties that cut, chop, deliver, and stack 10 cords of wood.