This documentary narrates the story of how students from UC Berkeley and their professor learn and serve in a program that is transforming lives in the Berkeley community. The story begins eleven years ago when Professor Amelia Barili, a Senior Lecturer in the Spanish and Portuguese Department at the University of California-Berkeley and recipient of the 2008 Chancellor’s award for Public Service, started encouraging her students to volunteer at the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant (EBSC). Located directly across from U.C. Berkeley’s campus, EBSC is dedicated to the support, protection, and advocacy of the rights of immigrants and refugees. Formed in 1982 to provide refuge to Central Americans fleeing war and persecution, it has grown to reach out to immigrants and refugees from over 30 countries from all over the world.
Professor Amelia Barili had a fresh vision for how to bridge together education and civic engagement, and a (relatively) new method of education called “service learning” where students learn through direct experience about what they discuss with texts in the classroom. While her students were honing their writing skills in the “Advanced Grammar and Composition” course by analyzing texts from Latin American writers and about the Latino community in the US, they concurrently had the opportunity to hone their written and oral Spanish by applying what they had learned in a team effort outside of the classroom, at EBSC.
Since its start in 1999, the service-learning partnership has been a remarkable success. About sixty to seventy students per year in Professor Barili’s classes have each volunteered for twelve to twenty hours per semester at the Sanctuary. Students have provided glowing reports about their experience at the EBSC, and several related that it was the most worthwhile learning experience. “Building Nurturing Communities: A Berkeley Story” shows how the weaving of personal interactions and stories transformed the lives of students, the refugees, and the community at large.
Dr. Amelia Barili receiving the UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Award for Public Service.
For more clips, see: http://buildingnurturingcommunities.t…