Students from USD mentor youths at Bowden Youth Center

Students from USD mentor youths at Bowden Youth Center
Students from The University of South Dakota's Center for Academic Engagement worked closely with disadvantaged youths at the Bowden Youth Center in Sioux Falls, during a service-learning event recently.

The Bowden Youth Center, which is a program of Volunteers of America-Dakotas, provides educational and recreational activities for children and youths. It also provides other services such as serving as a drop-in center for youths who are homeless or are at risk, providing response services for youth in need and offering meals and other intervention services. USD students acted in a mentoring capacity, including playing games, providing conversation and sharing a meal with the youth present at Bowden.

"I didn't think that Sioux Falls would be a place where extreme poverty would have such a huge impact. I did not know all the services Bowden provided. I knew when I left that Bowden has a huge positive impact in the lives of many children and families," said Jennifer Newton of Dakota Dunes. "Places like the Bowden Youth Center are much needed."

This event is part of the Center's ongoing program of service-learning that allows students to learn about and meet a community need while integrating their academic experiences. The university, by offering such programs, seeks to help students connect their classroom learning with real-life application and challenges them to use their education to address community concerns.

In addition to Newton, students attending the event at the Bowden Youth Center included Ali Khokhar of Lahore, Pakistan; Claudia Leow of Vermillion; Philip Akurienne of Sioux Falls; Allison Moravek of Sioux City, IA; Craig Tooley of Worthing; and Elizabeth Moreno of Anaheim, CA.

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