Lone Star Col­lege-Mont­gomery puts com­mu­nity at heart of new fresh­man com­po­si­tion class

Public News (Houston) - - NEWS -

CON­ROE - Lone Star Col­legeMont­gomery English Pro­fes­sor Melissa Den­nis added a new twist to her fresh­man English 1301 class and it in­volved one lo­cal non­profit re­ceiv­ing a $500 grant.

Den­nis as­sem­bled 5 non­prof­its: An­gel Reach, Cas­sidy Joined for Hope, Di­rect Hope, In­ter­faith of the Wood­lands and Mont­gomery County Women’s Cen­ter, and she split her stu­dents into groups as­signed to each. The stu­dents con­ducted pri­mary re­search to iden­tify the non­profit’s need, then wrote a for­mal pro­posal and pre­pared a presentation.

“I have so many stu­dents who have ben­e­fit­ted from non­prof­its in some way through­out their lives and I know a lot of them would like to give back,” said Den­nis. “Stu­dents like to have a real, mean­ing­ful rea­son to write.”

“I re­ally liked work­ing on this pro­ject be­cause as an English class it is dif­fer­ent,” said stu­dent Mario Pliego. “It is not as­sign­ment-based: here is your topic write an es­say. I do not like to do those types of projects be­cause I feel it lacks a pur­pose, but this was dif­fer­ent.”

The stu­dents pre­sented their pro­pos­als to a panel of fac­ulty and Cas­sidy Joined for Hope won the $500 grant.

“We are so hon­ored,” said Kim Hess Pres­i­dent of Cas­sidy Joined for Hope. “It has been over­whelm­ing to see the re­sponse, the ef­fort and the heart that these kids put into this pro­ject.”

Cas­sidy Joined for Hope spreads the mes­sage of teen sui­cide pre­ven­tion through school clubs, com­mu­nity in­volve­ment and speak­ing events. Cas­sidy was a 16 year-old girl who trag­i­cally lost her lift to sui­cide in De­cem­ber 2015. She did not fit the typ­i­cal mold you ex­pect from a vic­tim of sui­cide. Hess is Cas­sidy’s mom. “Shar­ing Cas­sidy’s story is not easy, but it is a story that has to be told and shared,” said Hess with tears in her eyes. “We all have our own sto­ries. You never know what some­one is go­ing through just by talk­ing to them, you never know how bro­ken they can be on the in­side. We can make a dif­fer­ence and help save lives if we all start be­ing more com­pas­sion­ate and open up the con­ver­sa­tion to start talk­ing of sui­cide, be­cause if we do not talk about it we can­not pre­vent it.”

The spirit of help­ing those in need has per­me­ated the stu­dents in this class. The stu­dents are form­ing their own Mav­er­icks Joined for Hope Club to raise aware­ness about sui­cide on cam­pus and they started a book drive to help In­ter­faith of The Wood­lands’ sum­mer pro­grams.

“This was a re­ally unique class,” said stu­dent Mariela San­doval. “Very dif­fer­ent from other English classes. It has re­ally helped make us more aware of the com­mu­nity.”

“This class is a win-win-win,” said Den­nis. “The col­lege ben­e­fits be­cause stu­dents are get­ting re­al­world ex­pe­ri­ence, the com­mu­nity ben­e­fits be­cause a non­profit pro­ject is get­ting fund­ing, plus as a teacher, I feel en­cour­aged to try new things to find new ways to reach stu­dents.”

Den­nis se­cured the fund­ing from LSC-Mont­gomery’s newly formed Un­der­grad­u­ate Re­search In­sti­tute (URI).

“This class would not have been of­fered with­out the sup­port of LSC-Mont­gomery’s URI,” Den­nis said. “I would love to even­tu­ally get com­mu­nity busi­nesses to match fund­ing to help get all the projects funded. There is al­ways room to grow.”

To learn more about Cas­sidy Joined for Hope and how you can get in­volved in spread­ing this im­por­tant mes­sage, visit their web­site at www.Cas­sidyJoined­forHope. com.

This sec­tion of English 1301 will also be of­fered in the fall se­mes­ter. To reg­is­ter for that class now visit www.lon­es­tar.edu/reg­is­tra­tion.

Lone Star Col­lege of­fers high­qual­ity, low-cost aca­demic trans­fer and ca­reer train­ing ed­u­ca­tion to 95,000 stu­dents each se­mes­ter. LSC is train­ing to­mor­row’s work­force to­day and re­defin­ing the com­mu­nity col­lege ex­pe­ri­ence to sup­port stu­dent suc­cess. Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., serves as chan­cel­lor of LSC, the largest in­sti­tu­tion of higher ed­u­ca­tion in the Hous­ton area with an an­nual eco­nomic im­pact of $3.1 bil­lion. LSC con­sists of six col­leges, eight cen­ters, two univer­sity cen­ters, Lone Star Cor­po­rate Col­lege and LSC-On­line. To learn more, visit Lon­eS­tar.edu.

Cas­sidy Joined for Hope re­ceived a $500 grant af­ter Lone Star Col­lege-Mont­gomery stu­dents from Melissa Den­nis’s English 1301 con­ducted re­search to iden­tify the non­profit’s need, then wrote a for­mal pro­posal and pre­pared a presentation for a fac­ulty panel. To learn more about Cas­sidy Joined for Hope and how you can get in­volved in spread­ing this im­por­tant mes­sage, visit their web­site at www.Cas­sidyJoined­forHope.com.

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