Newly elected political leaders, take note: Ask and listen, and you will find untapped ways to serve.
That’s what ECU’s Lessie Bass believed seven years ago – and it’s what led the university and its partners to receive the respected C. Peter Magrath University/Community Engagement Award last week.
Bass, an associate professor of social work, began listening to residents of west Greenville back in 2005. She pondered how to help the struggling community meet social, economic and health needs. So, she asked them.
Knocking on doors and research from the ECU Center for Health Disparities led Bass and a friend, Deborah Moody, to identify a gap in service. Together they began a true partnership between west Greenville residents, the City of Greenville, Pitt Community College and ECU. Their common goal: to bring family- and neighborhood-strengthening programs to the Lucille W. Gorham Intergenerational Community Center.
Today, residents of west Greenville are using the center to build a better community with help from dedicated volunteers. Many of them are ECU faculty and students.
From a community garden to diabetes management and health screenings to after-school tutoring, the community center is a hub of activity and learning for kids, adults and seniors.
ECU health sciences students and faculty support a number of initiatives at the community center. One of the newest, IGCC Fit, provides health screenings for youth, adults and seniors each Tuesday. College of Nursing student volunteers have helped with initial health screenings to collect information on people with risk factors and monitor them throughout the year.
The Brody School of Medicine is involved in a study of African-American women with Type 2 diabetes, and the center is an enrollment and screening site for the study.
We are proud of our students and staff for their dedication to the community. This work falls directly in line with our mission to serve, particularly those who lack adequate access to care. We’ve long believed service benefits our state and enriches student experience. This recent national award is confirmation we’ve been moving in the right direction for some time.
The true inter-departmental collaboration between social work, business, health sciences and others shows: when we work together, we win.
Although Bass passed away in 2009, we’re confident she would be proud.
Read more about the award at http://www.ecu.edu/cs-admin/mktg/community_engagement_award.cfm.