Penn State adult learners help a Lewistown community project

Adult learners enrolled in classes at the Penn State Learning Center in Lewistown have organized a community service committee and chosen their first project, a blood drive

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The start of the school year is challenging for students and their families. That's true even for adult college students, who juggle family, work and community responsibilities with their schoolwork. Justina Fisher, an adult learner at the Penn State Learning Center in Lewistown, has found a way to balance these responsibilities while also organizing an adult learners' community service committee at the Learning Center.

"Volunteering enriches your life and is a win-win for the student and the community," said Fisher. "It's good hands-on experience for learners that can help them get jobs, and it's helpful to members of the community."

Adult learners enrolled at the Learning Center are co-sponsoring the American Red Cross "Bleed Blue" blood drive, the first community service project for the adult learners' service committee, in conjunction with the Lewistown Hospital and School of Nursing. The event runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, in Room 4 at the hospital. The adult learners will provide hot and cold snacks, the hospital is providing drinks. The students also are distributing fliers and posters about the event throughout the region.

"This is a great community service project on behalf of the Learning Center conducted by our own students and co-sponsored with our education partner the Lewistown Hospital," said Tom Walker, learning center director.

For Lewistown resident Fisher, giving back to her community is a way to pay forward the help she has received. "Penn State has given me a chance for a second life," she said.

A high school dropout, Fisher married and raised three children. When her marriage ended in divorce, she pursued her GED. She later married George Fisher, also an adult student at the Learning Center. Always interested in returning to school, Justina Fisher took her first step in 2008 after receiving a postcard from the Learning Center.

She expects to graduate in May 2012 with an associate degree in letters, arts and sciences and plans to continue for a bachelor's degree to prepare for a career as a child therapist.

Fisher's academic achievements have been recognized with the 2011 Outstanding Adult Student in Postsecondary Education Award by two Pennsylvania education associations.

As leader of the learning center's adult learners' community service committee, Fisher said committee members are planning more service projects and volunteer efforts.

Penn State Continuing Education offers a venue for adults to return to the classroom. Continuing Education reaches more than 30,000 adult learners annually at Penn State campuses statewide. Continuing Education is part of Penn State Outreach, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education. Penn State Outreach serves more than 5 million people each year, delivering more than 2,000 programs to people in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and 114 countries worldwide.
 

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Last Updated August 30, 2011