Saturday, August 25, 2007

Thoughts on Citizenship

When I first met with Winter Brown, the DukeEngage Durham Program Coordinator, she asked me what was on my mind. My response to her was “citizenship.” For some time, I had been wondering what it was to be a citizen of a place. Because I often think in questions, I probably bombarded Winter with many of the questions that raced through my mind when I thought about this topic. Some of those questions are written below.

What does it mean to be a citizen of Durham? What does it mean for me, a college student, who may only be here four years, to be a part of the Durham community? Does citizenship go beyond volunteering, engaging in service-learning, and spending time in our local communities? Can I be a “citizen” and just get food on campus, grab a movie from Lilly Library, and spend time with my Duke friends? Do I have to enjoy indie rock and going to the Broad Street CafĂ© on Friday nights? Do I have to have my voter registration moved from Tennessee to North Carolina? Do I need to feel comfortable giving people directions in downtown Durham?

Some of these questions may seem silly, but with so much talk about Duke students being a part of the Durham community, I wanted to know what that really means and looks like in real life. I have volunteered in Durham since I got to Duke, but I still was not sure what it meant for me to feel like I was a part of Durham. I certainly felt connected to Durham through my service work, but not necessarily like I was part of Durham. While this may seem like a fine distinction, it is best likened to feeling like a visitor rather than a resident or local. I wanted to know what it was to feel like I too was a Durham resident.

As I thought about this more throughout the summer, I tried to be conscious of the times when I felt like I was a part of Durham. I realized that for me, even though my daily work of being in the hospital helped me feel like I was part of Durham, there was something that I was missing. While it may seem frivolous, it was the extra things that made me feel like part of the community. For example, DukeEngage went out to a Durham Bulls game, and while at the game, I ran into one of the nurse practitioners who works in the sickle cell clinic. We just said hello to each other, but I started to feel like I knew people in Durham. Another experience I have had where I felt like I was part of Durham was being a counselor at Camp Kaleidoscope, the Duke Children’s Hospital camp for kids with chronic illnesses. Vivian is one of the camp directors for one of the three weeks of the camp, and for the past two years, I have been a counselor. What makes me feel like a part of Durham during that week is that even though Vivian is there, I mainly spend time with the campers and other counselors who are other hospital staff. Thus, although my involvement in the sickle cell project put me in the position to be there, the feeling of community comes from establishing relationships that go beyond the day-to-day work. Thus, for me, feeling like I am a part of Durham doesn’t have to do with what I do on weekend nights or what kinds of entertainment I enjoy, but rather, it is the quality of relationships I have been able to develop with people in Durham and outside of Duke.

-Grant Smith

Friday, July 6, 2007

Growing Up With Sickle Cell Disease: Time to Take Charge

Due to the increased life expectancy of sickle cell disease (SCD) patients over the past fifty years, there is a need to prepare adolescents with SCD for adulthood. Kinney and Ware (1996) describe that the transition from pediatric to adult care can be one of the most “traumatic” experiences for adolescent patients with SCD. For the past year, I have been working with the physicians and medical staff in the Duke-UNC Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center to create the Duke Sickle Cell Disease Transition program to address the psychosocial needs of these adolescent patients. The program primarily consists of an education program that provides patients with information about sickle cell disease, how to utilize the adult clinic's services, and how to take responsibility for their medical care. My focus this summer is to continue going over the education material with patients while they are in the clinic for their regular appointments. I will also be working to create a sustainability plan for the program so that it can continue after I graduate and when the hospital staff I am currently working with are no longer there.

I would like to thank my faculty mentor, Dr. Deborah T. Gold, PhD for all of her support throughout this project. I would also like to thank our community partners, Vivian Lewis, a Certified Child Life Specialist in the Duke Children's Health Center, and Elaine Whitworth, the adult health educator in the Duke-UNC Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center and director of the Bridges Pointe Foundation, Inc. In addition, thank you to the the Office of Service-Learning, the Deans' Summer Research Fellowship, the FOCUS Program, and DukeEngage for your continued support for this project.

Kinney, T. R., & Ware, R. E. (1996). Sickle cell disease: The adolescent with sickle cell anemia. Hematology/Oncology Clinics of North America, 10, 1255-1264.

-Grant Smith
Trinity '08

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Quality of Life-Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership

My name is Hannah Craddock and I am a rising sophomore at Duke University. My DukeEngage job is working with Quality of Life, a group that focuses on community organizing. It is through the Office of Community Affairs and is housed in the Erwin Offices.
I recently looked at my calendar and noticed that my summer is over half over. I just cannot believe how fast everything is going by. Work is going well-we have already completed many projects that were set up for us to do this summer. The newsletter articles are written and should be organized and set to be printed by mid-July, I have finished the updated brochure for QOL, and organization of all the files are coming along nicely. My favorite project however was the Pauli Murray Place celebration banquet. Pauli Murray Place is a neighborhood of fourteen homes that QOL, as well as Durham Community Land Trust, Habitat for Humanity, and Self-Help all helped build for low-income families. I helped organize it (I got to make the program and buy/do the flowers for the event, which allowed me to once again be creative!) and it turned out amazingly well. They had two home-owners speak and it really hit me how big of an impact owning a home had on them. It really made me realize how much I can take for granted.
One of my favorite parts of this job is being able to go out into Durham and learn about it. While this seems silly to think about (especially considering I am from Cary, NC), I feel like I knew nothing about Durham before this summer. I am given a chance to go to meetings with the community, but also just enjoy going to different places to eat lunch and seeing different parts of the community. Cate, a girl I work with, knows a lot about the area and always seems willing to share insight into Durham. It constantly amazes me how much history Durham actually has and how it is still impacting the population today.

Friday, June 8, 2007

DukeEngage - Durham Projects

Elaine Madison, Director of the Community Service Center, and Sam Miglarese, Director of the Office of Community Affairs, will advise nearly 30 Duke undergraduates who will work on projects in Durham this summer. The assignments are sponsored by several local non-profits and will be coordinated by Winter Brown, a Political Science Duke graduate student who has a service and service learning background.

Growing up with Sickle Cell Disease: Time to Take Charge
This is a comprehensive pediatric-to-adult transition program for adolescents with sickle cell disease. Students will help the program with assessing the effectiveness of increasing patients’ knowledge about the disease, decreasing their concerns and negative feelings about moving to the adult clinic, and increasing attendance at regularly scheduled appointments.

Durham Community Consulting
After having established nearly three years as a non-profit, Durham Community Consulting will have five DukeEngage student-volunteers working with them this summer. Students will work alongside community partners, Duke faculty and staff, and other Duke students towards the non-profits' long-term goals. Their assignments vary, and include helping increase the impact and outcomes of local non-profit organizations and helping direct students towards careers in community organizations.

Durham Family Initiative
Durham Family Initiative partners Duke students with children who live at McDougald Terrace and attend Burton Elementary School. This program is designed to increase support for at-risk children and educate a broader audience about abuse and neglect. These mentoring relationships will not only expand the children’s sense of community and range of experience, but they will also encourage character development.

Eno River Project
Students will meet the specified needs of the Eno River State Park through several activities. Some of the things they will do includes modeling and predicting the most successful eradication strategies for invasive plants, habitat mapping, monitoring water quality, and banding birds.

Student U.
One of Student U.'s missions is to encourage middle school students in Durham to take charge of their educations. DukeEngage volunteers will follow this by teaching middle school students classes over this summer. Throughout the academic year, Duke students will maintain their relationships by serving as mentors.

Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership
Duke students will be supporting local neighborhoods by working with Duke-Durham Neighborhood partners. Some things they will do include working with at-risk teenagers and children at summer camps, developing the leadership of promising high school students, and encouraging more students and community members in 'quality of life' issues.