Warren County High School students surpassed the requirements of their service-learning project to improve the well-being of residents of Magnolia Gardens assisted-living facility in Warrenton. They purchased a flat-screen television, TV stand, DVD player, and two exercise DVDs specifically designed for seniors. The students were participating in a program as part of an educational partnership with Wake Area Health Education Center (AHEC).
Heather Schafer, associate director of Health Careers & Workforce Diversity at Wake AHEC, worked with Maggie King-Harris, Warren County High School teacher, and Warren County Schools leadership to create a year-long program that combines aspects of the Youth Health Service Corps, a program designed to introduce students to service-learning, and Wake AHEC’s proprietary Mini-Med School curriculum. The rigorous program included core science, learning about vulnerable populations, and other health science topics.
Students had to develop a service-learning project based on identifying a vulnerable population and improving the health need/issue or educating people about it. The students chose the elderly as their vulnerable population, completing over 20 hours of volunteer service at Magnolia Gardens. Their focus was to educate the residents on the benefits of routine exercise and to encourage them to get moving. The students created a workout program and exercised with Magnolia Gardens residents for 15 to 30 minutes multiple times a week.
At the project’s end, the students were concerned the residents would not be able to continue their exercise program independently, so along with King-Harris, they surpassed the project’s parameters and added a fundraising component. By selling candy, the students raised enough money to purchase the entertainment system for the residents.
“Students in a rural or underserved area such as Warren County do not have the same resources as some of the other areas of North Carolina, so we at Wake AHEC use part of our federal funding to create educational enrichment programs such as this,” Schafer said. “It is commendable that Ms. King-Harris and her students took the assignment I gave them and turned it into a life-improving situation for the residents at Magnolia Gardens. I am so proud of them.”
On May 15, Schafer, King-Harris, and some of the students presented the project to the Warren County School Board, Superintendent, and members of the public. The students and King-Harris were awarded certificates for their contributions to the community.
About Wake AHEC
Wake Area Health Education Center, one of the nine centers located throughout North Carolina affiliated with the NC AHEC Program, provides educational programs, services, and activities to a nine-county region encompassing Durham, Franklin, Granville, Johnston, Lee, Person, Vance, Wake, and Warren counties. Visit wakeahec.org for more information.