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Roanoke College students put grant writing skills into action serving local nonprofits

Prevention Council of RoanokeStudents in the Public Health capstone class this spring at Roanoke College are learning to write grants by collaborating with and serving six local nonprofit organizations, including the Prevention Council of Roanoke.

Working in small groups, the students will identify funding opportunities for each organization, then research and craft grant proposals designed to support specific financial needs for each nonprofit.

“The goal of this collaboration is to provide a meaningful, applied learning experience for students while also supporting the crucial work that our local community organizations do to support the health and wellbeing of people in the Roanoke Valley,” said Dr. Kristen Rapp, assistant professor of sociology at Roanoke College. “I am excited to continue our partnership with the Prevention Council to assist in their efforts to address the local addiction crisis through youth education, awareness campaigns, and research.”

Each nonprofit organization has committed a representative or representatives to work with the small student group they’re partnering with. The representative(s) will visit with the class, provide guidance to their assigned group as needed and host site visits, and attend final student presentations in the capstone class.

“The opportunity to share what we do as the Prevention Council and how grants support our mission as a nonprofit has been amazing,” said Nancy Hans, executive director of the Prevention Council. “Working with the Roanoke College undergraduate public health students has been education on both sides as we are teaching them about grant writing for sustainability as they are teaching us what they are learning around public health. Our strategic prevention framework process uses a public health model that moves us from education, support through access and barriers to changing practices and policies that can protect and foster healthy choices for our youth, families and community.”

The grant-writing capstone projects will conclude at the end of the spring semester with final presentations, which will be attended by the nonprofit organization representative(s). “We have been fortunate enough to be able to work with the Prevention Council and continue to learn more about substance abuse within our community,” said Selma Sosic, a student participating in the Public Health capstone class. “My partner Katelyn Wiley and I have continued to expand our knowledge about this non-profit heavily needed in the community while writing our grant. We hope that we are able to help uphold the mission that the Prevention Council is a part of and we will both certainly be in touch post-capstone to continue learning about the progression of our community.”

Each organization will receive the grant proposal created by their student group and may submit the proposals if they choose. In addition, student groups will also research and create a customized list of possible fund-providers for each organization.

augusta free press
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