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Eight Juniata Students Serve Community as Bonner Leaders

(Posted December 17, 2001)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Eight Juniata College students have been named Bonner Leaders as part of a community service program in which students will begin a two-year term of service with a nonprofit organization, helping to coordinate programs and recruit volunteers.

The program, sponsored by the college's office of service-learning and volunteer programs, is a partnership of the Bonner Foundation of Princeton, N.J., AmeriCorps and Juniata College. At the end of two years, each of the students honored as a Bonner Leader will have served 900 hours as a volunteer, including a summer internship.

Juniata's eight Bonner Leaders are working in a variety of community agencies and organizations.

Denique Conner, a sophomore from Rochester, N.Y. studying English and communications, is serving with diversity programs and teen issues discussion groups in local schools.

Brandy Krug, a junior from Ashville, Pa. studying biology, is serving with Head Start. Krug coordinates any Juniata students who volunteer in the classrooms, as well as working with the children herself.

Rachel Locke, a junior from Altoona, Pa. studying elementary and special education, and Ryan Walstrom, a sophomore from Houtzdale, Pa. studying elementary and special education, are co-directing the Ark of Learning Tutoring Program, which is sponsored by the Salvation Army. The Ark of Learning is a one-on-one tutoring program available to students in kindergarten through grade 12. Locke and Walstrom are responsible for recruiting tutors from Juniata College and students from local schools, offering training sessions for tutors, acting as liaisons between the Salvation Army and Juniata College, keeping records of tutoring sessions, and tutoring students.

Ed Lorentz, a sophomore from Pittsburgh, Pa. studying business and biology, and Alison Vargo, a junior from Grapeville, Pa. studying environmental biology, are co-directing environmental education programs through the Raystown Field Station. They plan educational programs at the field station, including Animal Camp, which hosted more than 100 fifth graders this fall. They also designed environmental programs to present in local schools.

Tom McGraw, a sophomore from Altoona, Pa. studying biology and ethics, is serving with JC Blair Memorial Hospital and CHIP, the Children's Health Insurance Program, which provides health insurance for children in families who cannot afford or who do not take full advantage of private health insurance. McGraw's roles include working with hospital staff to gain a better understanding of the program, collecting and processing information about potential participants, and serving as the liaison for CHIP to Juniata's Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) student organization.

Jayme Miller, a junior from Kenhorst, Pa. studying social work, is serving with the Sunday-night tutoring program at the Huntingdon Community Center and with the PULSE (People Using Leadership Skills Effectively) program in the Huntingdon Area School District. For the tutoring program, which originated in Juniata's Circle K student organization, Miller recruits tutors and students, publicizes the program in local schools, gathers SAT preparation information for the program, supervises the tutoring session at the community center on Sunday evenings, and tutors students. Miller also works with the PULSE club at Huntingdon Area High School and will be helping to plan and implement the PULSE retreat and follow-up activities at the middle school in the spring.

All Bonner Leaders, depending on their eligibility, may be paid through the Community Service Federal Work-Study program; all participants who complete their term of service receive an AmeriCorps education award of $2,362.50. In addition, the Bonner Leaders receive leadership training through a curriculum that focuses on six common commitments as identified by the Bonner Foundation: community building, diversity, international perspective, civic engagement, social justice, and spiritual exploration.

Each student also works with a site supervisor at his/her agency or organization. For more information about the program, contact Jenell Patton, director of service learning and volunteer programs at (814) 641-3365, or Diana Goodley, Pennsylvania Campus Compact-VISTA coordinator at (814) 641-6673.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.