Helping the Helpers: The Writing Center and Walden University's Global Days of Service -->

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Helping the Helpers: The Writing Center and Walden University's Global Days of Service

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The documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? recounting Fred Roger’s long career in public television has generated publicity and praise since it was released in June 2018. Rogers dedicated his life to helping children understand complex concepts such as empathy, tolerance, and inclusion through his television show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Although it’s difficult to pinpoint a defining message from Rogers, his thoughts about how adults can help children handle tragic events illustrates one principle of his philosophy:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.”
Fred Rogers was a helper who celebrated helpers on his television show, and his message continues to resonate with children and adults. In the Walden University Writing Center, we are grateful to be able to work with the helpers who have dedicated their careers to promoting positive social change in their communities through scholarship at Walden University. Walden scholars contribute to positive social change in a variety of ways, often while balancing coursework, careers, and familial responsibilities.

Global Days of Service at Walden University

To give back to the Walden student community, the Writing Center has created Reviews for Social Change, where students can submit work completed outside of Walden with the goal of positive social change for paper review appointments at the Walden Writing Center. The Reviews for Social Change appointments run from October 15th to October 19th and are part of Walden’s Global Days of Service, so if you’re a Walden student who is writing or has recently written something like a blog post, letter to the editor, scholarship application, article for publication, grant, community resource, pamphlet, or other document to promote social change, we encourage you to make an appointment with us on the Reviews for Social Change myPASS schedule.

In addition to implementing Reviews for Social Change to help Walden scholars, the Walden University Writing Center participates in other center-wide initiatives to support positive social change. In 2017, we partnered with Breakthrough Twin Cities to provide feedback to students on their ACT practice essays. Breakthrough Twin Cities is a multi-year college preparation program for motivated but under-resourced middle and high school students in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, and 100% of their class of 2017 graduated in 4 years, with 98% enrolling in post-secondary education. We’re excited to work with Breakthrough Twin Cities again in October 2018.

The Writing Center also participated in the Douglass Day Transcribe-a-thon organized by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Smithsonian Transcription Center, and the Colored Conventions project. After completing the Douglass Day Transcribe-a-thon, we hosted another transcribing session in August 2018 and have transcribed 168 pages from the Freedman’s Bureau Papers to date. Anyone can participate in transcribing the Freedman’s Bureau Papers, so you can create an account and begin transcribing if you would like to contribute to better understanding of the post-Civil War era.

Although all of these volunteer projects were undertaken to contribute to positive social change, the desire to help Walden students achieve their academic and career goals so that they can employ those skills to help others is an important motivation of the Walden University Writing Center professionals. Walden students’ dedication to helping others shows in their writing that we see daily in the Writing Center. As we begin our Reviews for Social Change initiative, we are proud to be helping the helpers who make up Walden University’s student population.

Are there any writing-related online volunteer opportunities that we should know about? Please sound off in the comments or let us know how you’re contributing to change in your community!

Katherine McKinney author image

Katherine McKinney is a writing instructor in the Walden University Writing Center. She received an M.A. in English from Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Education at Walden. Katherine's goal as an instructor is to show students that the best writing results from practice, and she aims to provide feedback and resources that will guide students through the invention, composition, and revision process.

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