NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Armed with colorful construction paper, scissors, glue and a creative vision, Stephen F. Austin State University students transformed bulletin boards into motivational messages at both Boys and Girls Clubs in Nacogdoches and Lufkin.
For the second year, Dr. Rachel Jumper, assistant professor in SFA’s School of Human Sciences, partnered with community organizations to build an interactive service project for students in her family, school and community relations course. This year, the project expanded to include the Boys and Girls Club of Lufkin.
“After seeing the boards last year, the director in Lufkin asked if we could come there this year, as well,” Jumper said. “The kids at the club responded well to having the boards updated. The project helped the club look refreshed and was well received by the SFA students in my course. Because of the positive response, expansion was beneficial for everyone.”
The project involved 60 SFA students who constructed bulletin boards with various themes and messages that included an “Incredibles” board with the statement, “Our students of the month are incredible.” Another board featured a travel theme. Anna Murray, a junior from Jacksonville, helped build a basketball-themed board.
“By doing this project, I learned that even the smallest things on the wall — whether it be in the classroom, hall or gym — make a learning environment just a little more inviting and fun,” Murray said. “I am thankful for the teachers who go out of their way and put their time, effort and money into bulletin boards.”
Jumper explained the purpose of the project is to involve students in a community-outreach project.
“All the students in the course want to be teachers or work with families. This is a great course that shows the intersections of nonprofits, public and private schools, and individual families,” Jumper said.
The project also allows students to be a part of the community and practice a skill they will use in their future classrooms, Jumper added.
Brooke Kaczynski, a sophomore from Houston, said the impact changing a learning environment could have on children opened her eyes.
“This project taught me to never underestimate how much of an impact a small change can make. When we went to install our board, I really didn't think the kids would notice. I was wrong,” Kaczynski said. “The kids were asking us lots of questions and wanted to help us put it up. Seeing their faces when it was finished was my favorite part of this project — it made all the work we put into the board worthwhile.”