Understanding the social and economic dynamic of urban living is at the core of Project Affinity, an eight-week residential summer program that combines personal development, community engagement and service.Held at BW's Archwood House in Cleveland, this immersion experience teaches students the importance of valuing diversity, defining societal issues and assuming leadership roles in becoming catalysts of change.
For many participants, awareness is a core component of the program. Students explore social justice and community issues like homelessness, poverty, domestic violence, mental health, HIV/AIDS and abuse. But Project Affinity is more than a study in sociology. Its impact comes from the perceptual barriers that are broken down and insights that are gained through interactions with individuals who are challenged, neighborhoods that are shifting, and agencies that are transitioning to meet the needs of their clients.
As part of Project Affinity, students volunteer at community service agencies. They delve into real-world issues associated with politics, healthcare, labor, environment, citizenship, community development and more. In addition to learning the day-to-day work of service-focused career fields, participants can boost their resumes, make networking contacts and have the option of earning internship credit.
Understanding Their Impact
Another component of Project Affinity is the creation of a learning plan that enables them to set personal goals. Throughout the program and at its conclusion, participants reflect on these goals as a way of synthesizing and understanding the enrichment of their experiences. When the eight weeks end, the students leave behind a multi-level house located in an urban setting. But they take with them a lifelong lessons that can be used personally, professionally and socially.
Benefits Beyond Learning
Students who participate in Project Affinity receive room, board and a living stipend. They also can opt to earn academic credit for the experience as an internship.