In Fall 2021, the D2 Center participated in a UNO Service Learning Academy (SLA) project, partnering with UNO students in Kersten Borer’s Social Work and Civic Engagement class and Omaha South High students in Amy Cerra’s advanced pottery class. The previous summer, during an SLA brainstorming meeting for UNO faculty, local P-12 faculty, and community agencies, Professor Borer had the idea for a staff appreciation project for D2 Center YANs. This project would combine professional development opportunities created by UNO students for D2 Center staff, and also deepen the understanding of the day-to-day hurdles facing D2 Center YANs as they connect with their students.
Professor Borer’s UNO students interviewed D2 Center YANs to learn about their roles, success stories, challenges, and personal interests. The UNO students then met with Ms. Cerra’s pottery class throughout the semester to develop ideas for pottery pieces inspired by individual YANs to be presented as staff appreciation gifts.
Billed as a professional development session for D2 Center YANs, in November 2021, the UNO Social Work students hosted a D2 Center Staff Recognition event at the UNO Thompson Alumni Center where they presented anti-stress tactics and burnout prevention tips. In a surprise twist, the South High pottery students attended the event as well and presented each YAN with their pottery piece. These pieces ranged from mugs and tissue boxes to photo frames. Thank you to Kersten Borer, Amy Cerra, your students, and the UNO Service Learning Academy for this opportunity and experience!
Be sure to check out the UNO SLA Newsletter for more information about Fall 2021 projects (the D2 Center / UNO / South High article is on p. 9).
Below are a few photos and comments on the pottery pieces our YANs received.
Yaneth Mares: I received a pen holder; it’s perfect because I love collecting pens! The message “Bee Positive” is a daily reminder to always look on the bright side of things when things are going wrong.
Jesi DeWitt: This amazing piece sits on my desk and makes me smile every day! I love the creativity and humor and it was such an uplifting experience to share space with the artists.
Evelia Gutiérrez: Giselle L. produced an incredible piece of art based on an interview the UNO students conducted with me. As Youth Academic Navigators, our job is to mentor and motivate our youth to finish their high school diploma, and this piece of art will be a great reminder of that. These are some quotes I tell my students. My motto is the “Starfish Story.” We might not be able to save all students, but we make a difference on that one that listened to us.
Beautiful personalized photo frame for Netta Prince:
And last but not least, a deluxe Nebraska Husker themed tissue box for sports fan Curtis Morgan!