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April 22, 2003

Picture of students from Hamid Khani's classSeven students and seven faculty members who generously donate time in the community by volunteering to improve the lives of the homeless, mentor youngsters in Oakland's neighborhood and assist immigrants with paralegal work were recently recognized by SFSU's Office of Community Service Learning during an annual awards ceremony.

San Francisco State University has long been a leader of integrating community service into the general education curriculum. Last year, more than 7,000 SFSU students took part in nearly 300 college credit classes that include community service components. All told, the students logged more than 153,000 hours toward a community service project -- and their volunteer hours exceed $1 million if paid in minimum wages.

The student winners this year include:

Lisa Cruz, a broadcast and electronic communication arts (BECA) senior who graduates in May, helped the Oakland-based Bay Area Non-Violence Committee recruit volunteers to mentor young people in troubled neighborhoods. She was recognized by both the SFSU Office of Community Service Learning and the California State University's Students That Are Recognized for Service (STARS) award - one of only 43 students throughout the state to earn the CSU honors. Cruz hopes to continue working to reduce youth violence by encouraging young people to pursue an education.

Senior Kathy Davila also received the California State University's Students That Are Recognized for Service (STARS) award for her term as an AmeriCorps volunteer. She served more than 900 hours at the Jewish Home for the Aged in San Francisco, where she built relationships with the most reclusive and withdrawn residents in the facility. In addition to the Jewish Home, Davila also volunteers at La Raza Centro Legal of San Francisco.

Cinema senior Cynthia Blancaflor participates in fund-raising and creative work for the environmental justice organization Clean Water Action and Project Underground, and is a member of FACES (Filipino American Coalition for Environmental Solutions). She is also active in youth organizations such as the YMCA and the Mandela Arts Center. She hopes to be an international human rights activist, using her talents in filmmaking to give smaller communities a voice.

Emelina Guerrero, a Raza studies major, volunteers at the Central American Resource Center, where she teaches citizenship classes and assists with immigration paralegal work. Guerrero currently prepares new volunteers at the resource center and also works at other community service sites.

Business major Peggy Ghofrani organizes collaboration with welfare recipients as part of her advertising class project. After meeting with benefit recipients, she created effective ads for the State of California to announce the arrival of electronic benefits transfer cards. Upon graduation, Ghofrani plans to work at a San Francisco nonprofit agency.

Liam Lawlor, a health science major, is active in the Health Education Student Association and volunteers at two local community sites. At Presidio Middle School in San Francisco he teaches in the after school program. At Laguna Honda Hospital, also in San Francisco, he's working to develop an admissions database for the hospital's executive management. Lawlor plans to pursue a master's degree in hospital administration at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

Psychology senior Frank Tyler volunteers at Community Focus in San Francisco, an agency that keeps homeless people out of psychiatric wards. Working as a case manager, Tyler works closely with schizophrenic African American men to help them manage daily tasks -- such as managing money, cleaning, washing clothes and even grooming -- in order for them to function in society and reduce hospitalization. Tyler put more hours into the program than any other volunteer.

The faculty winners include:

Brigitte Davila, a Raza studies lecturer, has spent the last six years developing community service learning programs for both Raza studies and the College of Ethnic Studies. The program in the College of Ethnic Studies serves as a model for service learning classes in higher education across the state thanks in part to her hard work and dedication. As a result of Davila's advocacy, Raza studies majors must complete a community internship before they earn a degree.

Professor Hamid Khani developed broadcast and electronic communication arts (BECA) curriculum that allows students to produce broadcast media for community service organizations lacking funds for quality video and audio production. The class gives students (two students are pictured above) real world experience by creating and displaying media campaigns to wide audiences. Through the class, campaigns have been produced for hospice care, recycling programs, the Novato Multicultural Oversight Committee and the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

Kristen Gates, a lecturer in design and industry, developed a course called Bridging the Digital Divide where students work with small businesses in underserved communities to build web sites. Since 1996, more than 100 web sites have been created for local community and small business groups.

Mary Ann Haw, a nursing professor, created a partnership between St. Mary's Center in Oakland and SFSU's School of Nursing in 1998 and developed a model of a community-university collaboration to address the health and social service needs of low-income and homeless older adults. Since then students in community-based nursing at St. Mary's Center have expanded and improved health screenings, patient education and mental health assessment and treatment.

For many year associate professor Francisco Perez has taught community service courses in the art department, and he encourages students to practice art that serves the broader public interest. Students typically learn about issues that artists face when working in public spaces. Past projects had students working with a federal habitat reclamation project for migratory bank swallows at Fort Funston, the San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners in various community gardens programs and the State Department of Parks and Recreation at Candlestick Point Recreation Area.

English professor Gail Weinstein has taught several community service learning courses for many years. Each year about 100 students from SFSU and City College of San Francisco participate in the Students Helping in the Naturalization of Elders (SHINE) and Student Assisting with Immigrant Literacy (SAIL) programs. Students become coaches in these two programs and travel to senior centers in Chinatown, the Mission and the Richmond to help immigrants learn to read and write English or prepare for citizenship exams.

Darlene Yee, a gerontology professor, developed and implemented the most highly regarded internship program in the Gerontology Department. For the last eight years she has taught a community service learning course where gerontology students intern in many long-term facilities throughout California.

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Last modified April 22, 2003, by the Office of Public Affairs