One of my favorite things about classes at the School of Social Work is how often we get outside of the classroom to see how the theories and practices we have been learning look in the real world. This week, my Community Theory and Practice class took a field trip to a local Chapel Hill organization, The Jackson Center for Saving and Making History. According to The Jackson Center’s website, the Jackson Center is a public history and community development center located at the gateway to the historic Northside of Chapel Hill. You can read more about their work on their website, www.jacksoncenter.info.
We got to talk to the leaders of the Jackson Center, learn about how it started, and see community organizing and community development work in action. It was great to see all of the concepts and skills that we have learned about in the classroom being put to use in our own community.
Professors at the SSW do a great job of integrating real life practice with what we learn in the classroom. Every class that I have had in the School of Social has had at least one guest speaker come in to talk about their work in the field and help us make connections between our studies and social work. In my classes, we have had guest speakers from local non-profits, government agencies, hospitals, schools, and from groups that have been served by social workers. Chapel Hill is surrounded by many diverse communities. At the SSW, I have had the opportunity to learn about so many of these communities, both through field and through the classroom. It not only allows us to learn more about the place we live, but also to see the many job opportunities for social workers and ways that social workers can be involved in the community. Learning here is not just in field placements or within the classroom walls, it is everywhere!