Psych students enlightened about homelessness

Students in the Explorations of Psychology class traveled to Wooster over Fall Break for a service learning experience and to take a closer look at the problem of homelessness in the community. They described the experience as “eye-opening” and “amazing.”

Wooster’s Trinity United Church of Christ and its North Street Mission hosted the students Sunday and Monday. While there, they helped serve dinner at the local Zion Lutheran Church. They also served breakfast to Trinity UCC’s weekday morning breakfast program, which the church has operated for more than 23 years, serving 65-70 people per day.

The students had the opportunity to interact with homeless members of the Wooster community and began to understand that homelessness doesn’t only occur in big cities. Their conversations led to an enlightenment and true learning about a pervasive problem in rural communities so close to home.

Based on their reflections following their experience, many of the students were moved to action and plan to take steps to “go deeper in our desire to help others” by incorporating their learning into their communities and careers. Here are some of their thoughts:

"I just want to step up more and be a service to people within my capabilities."

"I plan on discussing Tiffin’s response to homelessness with friends and neighbors."

"I will use my experience here to better understand some of my clients when I work as a caseworker."

"It was crazy just seeing people affected by this so close to where I live (Millersburg).  I had a conversation with one guy about the town I live in and it blows my mind that this problem is so prevalent and close to home but I didn't know about it!"

"I can take what I've learned and transfer it to my home city (Lima, Ohio) and I can use the information and resources to help with multiple different situations (with people in need)."

"Being with the homeless and talking with them really changed my perspective because they were really polite and pleasant."

"In general, I will be more appreciative and grateful.  Also, since I am going into some psychology profession I may be encountering people who are homeless and this was a great way to become familiar with them and be around them."

Explorations in Psychology is co-taught by Dr. Ginny Gregg, Dr. Traci Stark and Neil Sass. Two students in the class, Anna Zeller and Sarah Toppin, worked with Ginny to coordinate the trip. Traci also accompanied the group. “We had a meaningful experience and a great time together,” she said.

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