Social work students host event

LIMA — On April 17, 2021, students from the “Generalist Practice with Larger Systems” class will step out of the classroom and into the community for the We Love Lima Pick-up Project, which begins at 9 a.m. at the Lima Family YMCA.

Ohio State Lima social work students Jason Adams, Megan Fisher, Lauren DiLullo and Devin Pierce have planned a project that they hope will contribute to a sense of pride in the community and encourage both residents and non residents to visit the area and the local businesses it is home to.

“It’s important to apply what we are learning in class to the real world because that’s why we wanted to become social workers in the first place,” said Adams, who grew up in the area that is part of the clean-up. “This project fulfills that need on all levels as it positively effects every business, local, and non-local that comes downtown to visit, or just drives through.”

The students have been applying what they are learning in the classroom to the needs of the community and getting valuable experience to apply to their future careers in social work.

“With this project we are getting the experience of community organizing, needs assessment, getting donors, volunteers, and figuring out a budget,” Pierce said. “When we are expected to perform such duties in our professional life, we will be more comfortable with the task having actually done it before opposed to just reading about it.”

The planning group has reached out to multiple groups and organizations on the campus and in the community to bring the project together, including the Social Work Club, the Lima Family YMCA, Allen Soil and Water Conservation District, Central Lima Neighborhood Association, Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce, Visit Greater Lima, ACE Hardware, Padrones and the Campus Activity Board.

Community volunteers can sign up ahead of time at or onsite at 9 a.m., Saturday, April 17, 2021, at the Lima YMCA. T-shirts will be available for the first 50 volunteers and pizza will be served after the cleanup.

Doing the project and asking others to join in is also a way to thank the community that has been their home while they study.

“Although I’m not a resident of Allen County, I still gained my education from here and wanted to give back to the community,” said DiLullo.

The student organizers are part of a social work class taught by Nancy Stephani.

“This is a large group organization class,” Stephani said. “It assists students in developing the skills to identify issues and organize solutions in communities and groups.”

Other projects from this semester’s class include a program for survivors of house fires, domestic violence awareness, food insecurity working with a local foodbank and food insecurity working with providing healthy foods.