The Community as Classroom (CAC) is a project-based program at PS 37 Marva J. Daniel Futures Preparatory School (Futures Academy) in the Fruit Belt neighborhood of Buffalo that involves the children in solving real-world problems that are related to neighborhood development and creative place-making. The CAC attempts to motivate 5th-8th grade students in an underperforming school by showing them the connection between lessons learned in the classroom and their abilities to build better neighborhoods and cities. This is done through action-based projects that grapple with real issues facing the Fruit Belt, the East Side and neighborhoods across the Buffalo and Greater Niagara Region. The goal is to increase student learning by showing them the utilitarian value of education, and demonstrating how knowing and learning can be used to improve the quality of their lives. The program is not only unique in how it approaches teaching and learning — utilizing UB undergraduate and graduate students from various departments across campus as instructors — but also the way in which it uses children as catalytic agents with the capacity to change the neighborhoods in which they are embedded. The CAC is a place-conscious approach to education that creates highly interactive linkages and connections between home and family, school, and neighborhood. It also teaches inner city elementary students about neighborhood development and urban planning and how they can help redevelop the communities in which they live and go to school if they are willing to put forth the effort. It produces not only good students but also civically engaged residents dedicated to building a better city.
Students at Waterfront Elementary School, Futures Academy, East High School, and Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts are served by the Liberty Partnerships Program (LPP) for the purposes of dropout prevention. Staff have engaged at-risk students in grades 5-12 with research-based interventions, including growth mindset/brainology and student success skills curricula, both designed to bolster students’ soft skills and increase academic achievement. As a result of these multifaceted interventions, overall GPAs and standardized test scores have increased, and students’ levels of risk, in terms of dropout, have also decreased across the board. As a partner with Buffalo Public Schools, LPP has established a pronounced and effective presence in the schools and continues to connect students to resources available at UB.
I am partnering with the Homeless Alliance of Western New York (HAWNY) to conduct qualitative research on the causes and consequences of homelessness among emerging adults (ages 18-24) in Erie County. We are exploring the living conditions of homeless young people, associated risk and resilience factors, and homeless emerging adults’ perspectives on housing and social services. This collaborative research is supported by the UB Civic Engagement and Public Policy initiative and the Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy. The collaboration is expected to produce academic publications as well as a technical report with recommendations for policy and practice.
UB on the Green is a free, outdoor, family-friendly festival of music, dance and fun, celebrating summer in the South Campus neighborhood. Community residents bring their own lawn chairs, food and drinks to Hayes Hall Lawn, and enjoy great entertainment, hands-on activities, and dynamic demonstrations and workshops. UB on the Green features an exciting theme each night, including “Unity in the Community & Health Care Fair Night,” “Arts & Culture Night” and “Athletics Night.”
Responding to the White House’s 2010 Joining Forces initiative to enhance the health care of veterans and military families, the Schools of Nursing and Social Work received a 3E Grant to advance the knowledge, skills and abilities of University at Buffalo (UB) nursing and social work students and community practitioners to better address existing and future unmet needs. The mission of Joining Forces-UB is to develop a comprehensive veteran and military family care educational program for students and community practitioners, and build a portfolio of interdisciplinary research. The project pursues this mission by capitalizing on the strengths and resources of the UB School of Nursing (SON) and UB School of Social Work (SSW) in partnership with local community organizations serving veterans and/or military families in the Western New York region.
inSocialWork® is the podcast series of the University at Buffalo School of Social Work. The purpose of this series is to engage practitioners and researchers in lifelong learning and to promote research to practice and practice to research. inSocialWork® features conversations with prominent social work professionals, interviews with cutting-edge researchers, and information on emerging trends and best practices in the field of social work.
Research on best practices and program outcomes. We are entering an agreement to develop research to guide Erie County Department of Social Services evaluation of program outcomes and to test evidence-based interventions.
Multistage project examining factors associated with children in subsidized adoptions who return to foster care. Stage 1 was looking at factors associated with adaptation to foster care. State 2 is obtaining statewide data on sustained and disrupted adoptions to compare characteristics. Stage 3 is to interview adoptive parents in disrupted adoptions to determine ongoing relationship with adopted child.
Students complete 900 hours of field work as part of the MSW degree requirement. Students complete placements in Erie Niagara region as well as Rochester area, Southern tier, other U.S. states and internationally.
The School Supply Drive is a two-month universitywide charitable drive for school supplies to benefit pre-K through eighth grade students at schools situated around our three campuses: Futures Academy, Bilingual Center, Martin Luther King Multicultural Institute, Highgate Heights Elementary and Westminster Community Charter School. UB employees drop off items in the designated collection boxes throughout the North, South and Downtown campuses that include paper, pencils, rulers, planners, markers, folders, and more. The 2013 program doubled in size from the previous year–with an unprecedented amount of supplies donated and distributed.