The School of Social Work at the University of Illinois has a pretty cool program called The Community Learning Lab, which benefits the work of organizations in our community, while also giving students an opportunity to put some of their education into practice. Community groups apply to the CLL with project proposals at the beginning of each semester, then are matched with classes or student groups to forge a partnership.
According to director Katie Shumway, "We start by working with needs community organizations have identified and we identify classes that could help them based on that. Community partners benefit by receiving assistance in an area they've identified that they want assistance in and students benefit by increasing their marketability, by working on real-world problems, and increasing their networking connections."
In the past students have worked with the kids of Dreaam House, developed a policy manual for Rattle the Stars, and assisted with resume building, searching for scholarships, planning activities, or tutoring for high school students through Operation Hope, and those are just a few examples.
Community organizations interested in participating can submit a project proposal here, which will then be reviewed by faculty to see if they can make an appropriate match.
You can learn more about the CLL here.
Photo from School of Social Work Facebook page