UConn Professor Utilizes Service Learning Courses to Leverage Hurricane Relief
Resident survey hurricane damage in Roseau, Dominica, on Wednesday. The island's main hospital is located in the city. AFP - Getty Images
Dr. Monica Miller-Smith, a Service Learning Faculty Fellow and Member of the Service Learning Committee, has recently expanded her community service efforts to include working on Hurricane Relief projects. Miller-Smith has lived in Puerto Rico and Nevis, West Indies and felt compelled to do her part in helping with hurricane relief efforts. She and her close colleagues are working with Caribbean Foundation for Children, Inc. raising funds and obtaining donations through the foundation’s Amazon and GOODdler Wish Lists. Most islands affected by the hurricanes have sustained 90% structural damage - Barbuda, St. Martin, Anguilla, Tortola, St. Thomas, Puerto Rico, and Dominica. The Wish Lists consists of basic needs supplies, rebuilding materials, and items for youth. The Wish List items are going to the island of Dominica.
Miller-Smith has students from her Human Development and Family Studies course, Parent-Child Relations: Cross-cultural Perspective, working on special Midterm projects. Miller-Smith recently read about UNICEF’s psychosocial program, “Return to Happiness,” and decided to put her students to work on creating a similar type of program. Return to Happiness is a two-week program that provides psychosocial support to youth through strategies and activities that promote emotional recovery from trauma. “No person should have to experience the level of traumatic stress that those affected by the hurricanes are experiencing, and the potential long-term developmental effects on adults, children, and their familial relationships need to be addressed. I believe that my students and I can develop psychosocial programs that can help families with their emotional recovery,” Miller-Smith explained.
Miller-Smith will work with current UConn students, UConn alumni, non-profits and business entities to deliver the programs in Puerto Rico and other areas that have suffered from the recent hurricane disasters. For more information on the psychosocial programs, please contact Dr. Miller-Smith at email@example.com. If you are interested in donating to the Caribbean Foundation for Children Fundraiser, please visit https://caribbeanfoundationforchildren.org/.
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