Jeremiah McFearin knew right away how to approach his service-learning project in an upper-level sociology course at College of Coastal Georgia this school year.
When assigned the project, McFearin thought of the recent death of a friend with whom he served in the military. His friend froze to death while experiencing homelessness in Colorado. McFearin wanted to help others from enduring the same terrible experience.
“He was homeless and wasn’t getting much help,” he said.
Dr. Roscoe Scarborough, an assistant professor of sociology at CCGA, assigned his students in a 3000-level sociology of deviance course with creating a service-learning project that would aid a stigmatized group in the community.
McFearin and two other students, Brandon McKinnon and Peyton Cuttino, partnered with FaithWorks Ministries and The Well, a day shelter in Brunswick for the homeless, and organized a collection drive to gather items that homeless individuals need.
They set collection boxes up at Golden Isles Pharmacy and around the college’s campus. Sooner than McFearin expected, the boxes were filled.
Items collected included soap, body wash, razors, shaving cream, toothpaste, toothbrushes, gloves, hats, scarves, socks, blankets and more.
These supplies will be distributed to guests at The Well and will greatly benefit the people who come by, said Honey Sparre, director of homeless ministries for FaithWorks.
“FaithWorks receives no federal or state funding,” she said. “We don’t receive any funding, so donations like this are pivotal in assuring those experiencing homelessness get what they need.”
Service-learning projects like this are an integral part of the CCGA experience, said Michelle Johnston, president of the college, during a recent event on campus.
Faculty and students at the college have contributed more than 100,000 hours in collaboration with community partners, through more than 600 service-learning projects.
“And we aren’t stopping any time soon,” Johnston said. “It seems to be kind of a Coastal Georgia way, that we establish and grow an incredible program in an unbelievably short amount of time.”
Service-learning is deeply integrated into the curriculum of CCGA courses, Johnston said, and these projects help students immerse themselves in the community and in the real-world aspects of their studies.
“We’re extremely fortunate to have designated funding that’s available from the college Foundation each year to support grants,” Johnston said. “… The project we celebrate today was supported by one of these grants.”
Scarborough said he hoped the assignment would give students an opportunity to connect their passions with their class experience. He was glad to see his wish come true.
“The students had a lot of freedom, and I’m really pleased with what this group in particular was able to accomplish,” Scarborough said. “They were definitely very dedicated and passionate, and it’s just so rewarding to see the students bringing their passion to the course material.”