People Reaching OutCommunity Partner Spotlight, February 2010
As a community organization, People Reaching Out strives to promote a healthy community by empowering youth to make healthy choices, strengthening families to guide their children away from drugs and violence, and forming effective partnerships working together to build a strong community. People Reaching Out has successfully partnered with Community Engagement Center for ten years, providing Sacramento State students with one-of-a-kind mentoring and leadership experiences outside the classroom.
People Reaching Out has integrated service learning directly into its after-school programs. Cole Forstedt, People Reaching Out Communications and Outreach Manager, shares, “Sac State students have had a huge impact on our programs. With a large number of elementary, middle and high school students in the PRO After School Mentoring and Students Reaching Out programs, we really rely on Sac State students to help facilitate the daily activities. We truly couldn’t operate our programs with such success without Sac State students. Therefore, [through the service learning partnership] Community Engagement Center has given People Reaching Out the opportunity to reach out to a larger number of people [in the community]."
Cole Forstedt, Communications and Outreach Manager
Child Development; Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration; Social Work; and Communication Studies students have engaged in service learning at People Reaching Out, though the majority have been students from Sociology 169: The Changing American Family. Service learning students have assisted in facilitating art projects, outdoor/sports activities, team building and prevention lessons.
Cole Forstedt expressed that in the three years he has worked with Community Engagement Center, quality communication has played a key role in the successful partnership. Before they start their service, students are asked to share what they hope to accomplish through their service learning projects.
The People Reaching Out team works closely with students to help them achieve their goals and enable students to explore their areas of interest. Aside from leading activities and working with the youth, Sac State students also receive mentoring and gain leadership skills from People Reaching Out staff members with whom they are paired. Two of People Reaching Out’s current staff members were former Sacramento State service learning students. People Reaching Out encourage students to continue making an impact on the next generation and work together towards a healthy community.
Todd Migliaccio, Ph.D., an Associate Professor of Sociology at Sacramento State, believes, “People Reaching Out has been a consistently positive community partner the entire time we have worked with them. They always offer students a variety of opportunities in which they can be involved; working with us as they identify new areas for students to work that will benefit People Reaching Out and our students, and still fit within the needs of the course objectives. People Reaching Out offers a perfect balance of structure and flexibility within their work environments so that students feel secure in what they are to do, while still allowing students to be innovative and free to introduce ideas and even activities to the programs. Overall, they are a great partner and I am always excited to work with them because I can rely on them, which makes my job much easier.”
Contributed by T. Nguyen
Each year, more than two thousand Sacramento State students, faculty, staff, and alumni participate in programs and projects sponsored by Community Engagement Center. Programs such as Alternative Break, AmeriCorps Students in Service, Sac State Serves, and Service Learning fulfill our mission to facilitate learning and engagement by linking campus and community for mutual benefit. Through Spotlight, Community Engagement Center will highlight outstanding individuals and programs advancing community engagement in the Sacramento region.