Monday, November 10, 2008

The Philadelphia Field Project

We came across an innovative education program in our news searching today.

The Philadelphia Field Project is operated by Penn State University. The program has students live in the inner city of Philadelphia to learn about the effects of poverty in that city. The program tries to work on solutions that poor households have problems with nutrition, housing, transport, health care, and others.

The Philadelphia Field Project received an award from NASULGC, a Public University Association. The award recognizes university programs that reach out to the local community.

The Penn State Live has more details on the poverty study project.

The project, an outreach program of Penn State, is a unique service-learning course that has generated more than 60 student-run projects addressing critical needs in areas as diverse as credit cooperatives, transportation and nutrition.

Since 1998, Penn State students involved in the Rethinking Urban Poverty project lived and worked in a low-income neighborhood of Philadelphia. By engaging in dialogue and creating partnerships with local community organizations, students identified the links between poverty and community development, and, through their research, became a resource for the community. Students moved away from the standard poverty discourse and focused instead on quality of life by employing the three community-identified needs health, dignity and community. Through the project, they undertook research activities to improve health though diet, nutrition, exercise, urban gardens, community-supported agriculture and education for preventive health care, targeting specific challenges such as Type II diabetes, atherosclerosis and hypertension.

A video explaining the project can be found here.

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