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Swinging into Action: Democratic Citizenship and the Kaleidoscope Playground Project. Rona J. Karasik, Ph.D Professor, Gerontology Program, St. Cloud State University Phyllis A. Greenberg, Ph.D Associate Professor, Gerontology, Program, St. Cloud State University.

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Swinging into action democratic citizenship and the kaleidoscope playground project

Swinging into Action: Democratic Citizenship and the Kaleidoscope Playground Project

Rona J. Karasik, Ph.D

Professor, Gerontology Program, St. Cloud State University

Phyllis A. Greenberg, Ph.D

Associate Professor, Gerontology, Program, St. Cloud State University


The kaleidoscope story 2001 2011 the condensed version
The Kaleidoscope Story(2001-2011) The Condensed Version

Classroom Community

Service-Learning


Goals of the project
Goals of the Project

  • Teach SCSU students the skills of civic engagement and civic participation through experiential learning by working with community partners

  • Develop a regional playground for all abilities


How kaleidoscope got started the perfect storm
How Kaleidoscope got started “The Perfect Storm”

  • Campus Compact Grant

  • “Why aren’t we doing ANYTHING?”

  • Jonathan’s Dream

  • The City of St. Cloud

  • The East Side Boosters


The idea
The Idea

An accessible playground for all abilities


The journey begins fall 2001
The Journey Begins… (Fall, 2001)

The Travelers…

  • Students:

  • “Community & Democratic Citizenship (CS 201/CMTY 195)

  • Community Partners:

    • East Side Boosters

    • City of St. Cloud (Parks & Recreation)

    • Other Constituents

  • Faculty:

    • Rona Karasik

    • Pamela Mittlefehldt

    • Phyllis Greenberg


  • The students you want us to what
    The Students“You want us to WHAT??!!?”

    Goals and Objectives for Service-Learning in CMTY 195

    Goal 1: Provide students with face to face contact with communities and their participants.

    Learning Objectives:

    • To familiarize students with a realistic (rather than media enhanced) experience of community life.

    • To personalize the population/issues/concerns being studied.

    • To understand the vast diversity among communities and their members.

      Goal 2: Introduce students to the needs and concerns of communities.

      Learning Objectives:

    • To familiarize students to the day to day living experience of community members.

    • To familiarize students with the social challenges communities may face.

      Goal 3: Provide students with interaction with community agencies and/or governing bodies.

      Learning Objectives:

    • To familiarize students with the specific services provided by community agencies and the issues they address.

    • To familiarize students with the structure of a local service agency.

    • To familiarize students with the personnel of a local service agency.

    • To familiarize students with the governing bodies and procedures of community governance.

      Goal 4: Provide students with the opportunity to develop civic responsibility/ citizen participation skills.

      Learning Objectives:

    • To increase students’ sense of personal efficacy (“I can make a difference”).

    • To increase students’ commitment to lifelong community/public service.


    Community partners
    Community Partners

    • East Side Boosters

      Goal: Enhance the East Side of St. Cloud

      • City of St. Cloud (Parks & Recreation)Goal: Enhance playground in St. Cloud at no cost to them


    A few early challenges
    A few early challenges…

    • Getting students “on board” and under way

    • Finding a suitable location

      • East Side vs. other sites

      • Environmental impact

      • Access

  • Concerns from disability groups

    • Is this the right thing to do?

    • Segregation vs. integration?

    • Going beyond the ADA


  • Learning opportunities part i
    Learning Opportunities: Part I

    • Negotiating between groups with widely varying interests

    • Working as a team

    • Navigating bureaucracy

    • Allowing students to navigate in rough waters

    • Finding/Agreeing on location

    • Maintaining motivation and momentum in light of challenges


    Some early achievements
    Some Early Achievements

    • Learning how to evaluate a site

    • Finding a location

    • Surveying the neighborhood

    • Surveying school children

    • Bringing in new partners

    • Learning about the ADA

    • Creating an accessible playground design


    The place
    “The Place”

    Before: Wilson Regional Park, St. Cloud, MN



    Open seas
    Open Seas…

    Learning Opportunities Part II

    • Finding a location (land surveying, flood zones, environmental concerns, neighborhood concerns -- survey)

    • Designing an accessible playground (and learning about ADA and bureaucracy in the meantime)

    • Negotiating with partners and divergent interests/needs

    • New partners: designers, vendors, kids, fiscal agents

    • Budget!

    • Fundraising!!!

    • Grant writing

    • Student leadership, initiative, and follow through


    Some additional challenges
    Some Additional Challenges

    • Getting started (over and over and over…each semester)

    • Bureaucratic hoops – campus and city

    • Students organizing & follow through

    • Letting students experience ”failure”

    • Who’s Playground is it?

    • Time commitment of service-learning

    • Meeting fund raising goals vs. student experience/learning

    • You can’t do that here!


    Additional achievements
    Additional Achievements

    • Fundraising

    • New partnerships

    • New students (over 1000 in all)

    • Grant writing

    • Public speaking experience



    Sway glide fun the 1 st piece of equipment
    Sway Glide Fun – the 1st piece of equipment!


    And then there was the fundraising
    And then there was the fundraising…

    • Family Fun Festivals

    • Silent Auctions

    • Spaghetti Suppers

    • Pizza Sales

    • Grant Writing

    • Car shows


    The finish line are we there yet
    The Finish Line (Are We There Yet?)

    • Playground

    • Student involvement

    • Changing perceptions of students – you can make a difference

    • Changing perceptions/stereotypes about students

    • Community Involvement: campus and larger community

    • Sustainability





    Hindsight
    Hindsight!

    What might we do differently?

    • Smaller project (allows more student continuity and closure)

    • Everything else was all learning (some harder lessons than others!)


    Thanks to our students community partners and our sponsors
    Thanks to our students, community partners, and our sponsors!

    • CS 201 & CMTY 195 Students 2001-2010

    • East Side Boosters

    • City of St. Cloud Parks & Recreation

    • Central MN Community Foundation

    • Otto Bremer Foundation

    • United Way Youth as Resources Fund

    • Aramark Food Services

    • St. Paul Pipefitters Union

    • Sam’s Club

    • Shopko

    • ING North America INS Corp

    • American Legion SAL Post 76

    • St. Cloud Morning Optimists Club

    • Coburn’s Incorporated

    • TCF Bank

    • C.O.M.P.A.S.

    • And all the private donors and supporters of our many fundraisers!