It’s a public relations writing class (I know) at University of New Haven, and as a class project, we are writing an end-of-the-year appeal letter for Columbus House in New Haven.
I love Columbus House. They’re a leader in preventing and ending homelessness, and an early adapter of best practices. They were a leader in the state’s first attempt at a 100-day challenge, before Hartford and most of the rest of the state signed on. They do good things.
But like so many non-profit organizations, they could use some help, so my students are going to come up with a letter that will try to get them some support.
John Brooks, the development director, gave the tour, and while I know this sounds like a mother duck, I was so impressed with the students’ questions. I asked them to come in loaded for bear, and we did some prep work on homelessness in Connecticut, but their questions went beyond all that.
John is coming to our class on Thursday to lay out precisely what he needs. I think we’re going to do good work for the organization, but that’s not what has me so pumped up about this.
On Friday, a student sent me an article she’d written for the campus newspaper. She wanted to make sure it was OK if she wrote about what the class was doing. Of course it was, but I was so taken by how she described the trip, and how that trip made her think. This is a smart, engaging young woman. She adds a lot to the class discussion. I won’t quote from the piece — though I will probably link to it when it runs — but I kind of teared up at the end. Maybe that’s because I’m absolutely fried by the end of each week. Maybe that was it, but I have to tell you, seeing a smart young person connect the dots was worth all the sleepless nights followed by caffeine-fueled mornings and frustrations over stupid computer programs that aren’t intuitive. It was totally worth it.
That’s so awesome! So much of school is theoretical. What a fabulous experience this will be for the students to engage in and have influence over something that actually affects other people. Bravo to you AND the students! They will surely put in more effort and become more involved as a result. The will learn and feel empowered, and that is a beautiful thing! I look forward to reading her news piece. Thanks for sharing.
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