OU students give back to community schools in Social Work Club

By Web Master

By ADAM ROBERTS

Senior Reporter

Forsome, giving back to the community is an obligation or a burden. For OU’sSocial Work Club, giving back is a way of life.

Forthe past year, the club has been mentoring children at Lincoln Middle School inPontiac.

“It’sa really good way for the students to open up and share their problems,” saidTara Forbes, 24, who is the vice Ppresident of the Social Work club.

EveryFriday she goes to the school and talks to three girls about their lives.

“Wetalk a lot about the violence in the school, and how to prevent it,” Forbessaid.

ProfessorLynetta Moseby is the advisor to the club and director of OU’s social workprogram. She remembers talking to Oakland County Circuit Judge Fred Mesterabout getting involved in the mentoring program.

“Hetold me he wanted to help the young people, and that he was tired of puttingthem in jail, Moseby said.

Mesterand the Pontiac Alumni Foundation started the program to keep middle schoolstudents on the right path to success.

Mosebylearned about the program after one of her students, Aaron Kochenderfer, toldher about the program and urged that they get involved.

“Ilook for every opportunity to help the community,” Kochenderfer said with asmile. 

Severalcorporations are involved in the mentoring program. The Social Work Clubrepresents Oakland University in the partnership.

Accordingto Moseby, the club adopted Lincoln middle school because it was one of themost diverse schools in the area.

“It’sa very rewarding experience…you have the chance to plant positive seeds inthese children’s lives,” said Karen Byrd, 34, a social work major. “Many of thegirls had attitude problems or self-esteem issues. They needed help.”

Wasit worth participating in the program?

“Itwas definitely worth it. I plan to participate again this fall,” said Byrd.

“Yeah,I’m glad I got involved. It feels like we are making a difference,” saidForbes.

Mosebysays the plan is to continue working at Lincoln Middle School for years tocome. Members are currently raising money to take the kids to a Golden Grizzlybasketball game next year.

“Theclub serves as a reflection of both the social work profession and the outreachmessage of Oakland University,” she said.

Youdon’t have to be a social work major to get involved with the club.

“Youjust have to feel like lending a hand,” Moseby said.

Thefeeling of giving can be its own reward, according to Kochenderfer, who stillgives back as much as he can.

“Younever know when the next opportunity to give back will show up,” he said. “Weshould all seize those opportunities.”

Thesocial work club was formed about 9 years ago, and has played a role in theservice community ever since.

Recentlythe club participated in the “Relay for Life,” and won awards for “Best Team Spirit”and “Most Money Raised by a Club.”

Thosewho are interested in getting involved can visit the CSA homepage or contactProfessor Moseby by e-mail at [email protected]