Sociology class gives local non-profits Pay It Forward grants
Students in sociology professor Sarah Goodrum’s senior seminar in law and policy recently awarded $2,000 to two non-profit organizations in Central Kentucky through the Pay It Forward program for student-led philanthropy. The class received the Pay It Forward grants earlier this year with the understanding that they would benefit organizations in need.
“Collin’s Classic for Cancer received $1,000 to help fund children’s involvement in summer camps for kids with cancer, and CASA at Woodlawn received $1,000 and a refurbished computer to aid child advocacy work in the family court system in Danville and Boyle County,” Goodrum says. “Our awardees seemed to genuinely appreciate students’ interest in their work and the Pay It Forward award to their agencies.”
The two organizations were indeed thrilled to be recipients of the grants and to become involved with the senior seminar class.
“I am so excited that we were chosen as a recipient of the Pay it Forward grant,” says Laura Guerrant, director of CASA at Woodlawn. “The concept of the grant, along with the service aspect, creates an opportunity for students and organizations to collaborate beyond the normal volunteer experience. Students themselves become advocates for the organizations that they are researching and serving.”
The experience gave the law and policy class real-world experience with the subjects they studied last semester.
“I think the students developed a greater appreciation for and understanding of the social, legal and educational needs of Danville and Boyle County residents,” Goodrum says. “I’m also thrilled that they had the opportunity to apply socio-legal theories to concrete social problems and to think more about what they want to do with their post-Centre lives in the process.”
Both Collin’s Classic for Cancer and CASA at Woodlawn will be able to put their Pay It Forward grants to excellent use.
“This grant will benefit CASA in so many ways. With the grant, we will be able to train additional CASA volunteers who will advocate for abused and neglected children in Boyle and Mercer Counties,” Guerrant says. “The children who receive an advocate will have a voice in court, will be ordered more services and given a constant person in their life.”
For Guerrant, becoming involved with the Pay It Forward grants process was rewarding in itself.
“Being able to share CASA’s mission on a level that related to Dr. Goodrum’s class was very interesting. CASA is an organization that utilizes community volunteers to be the voice for abused and neglected children,” Guerrant says. “The outcomes are far reaching — CASA can break the cycle of abuse, change the child welfare system and impact the economic effects of abuse and neglect. To be able to share the outcomes with the students involved was wonderful.”
Receiving and giving the Pay It Forward Grants in turn was a meaningful and unique experience for everyone involved.
“Watching my senior seminar students learn more about a career of interest to them while also doing service work to benefit non-profit organizations in our community proved to be very rewarding experience for me — as an instructor and also a sociologist,” says Goodrum.
“The outcomes are priceless,” she says.