August 2011

August 2011

PAWs - Promoting Awareness and Wellness

Ashford University is proud to show you our PAWs. That is, our Promoting Awareness and Wellness initiative! Every month, we'll highlight different causes and opportunities that reflect the values of the University. You'll also learn ways that you can participate or be more involved.

August 2011 - Call to Service

This August, Ashford University calls you to learn more about local service opportunities. You have the ability to be a leader in your community and in your home by representing responsible citizenship.

College Students Give Back

By pursuing higher education, you are being trained to open your mind and gain a more diverse worldview, which in turn leads to a greater understanding of the needs of others. A common result is that college students and alumni are inclined to volunteer. This relationship between education and volunteerism has inspired a "service-learning" initiative, which became a formal movement in 1903 when the University of Cincinnati founded the Cooperative Education Movement. The National Service-Learning Clearinghouse's website defines service-learning as: "a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities" (National Service-Learning Clearinghouse, 2011). The idea behind most service-learning programs is to get students out in the world so they can apply classroom theories. The result is twofold: 1) Students develop a stronger social network and sense of connection to their communities, and 2) student learning is more enduring.

Even when service-learning programs are not directly integrated into curriculum, the relationship between education and service exists, as seen by the number of students who volunteer outside of school. The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement conducted a study in 2009 that showed 43% of all college students would volunteer at some point during their academic career (CIRCLE, 2011). The majority of collegiate volunteers participate in either tutoring or mentoring, and most work with youth or educational organizations (Corporation for National and Community Service, 2006).

Volunteering can also be beneficial to your health. Studies show people who regularly volunteer report greater life satisfaction and better physical health than non-volunteers (Van Willigen, 2000).

Organizations Make a Difference

If you are not already volunteering in your community, there are several ways to get involved. Below, you'll find a few organizations that are making a tremendous impact through dedicated volunteers. There are branches of these and other service organizations in nearly every city and region of the country. Find your local branch today!

Kiwanis International

Kiwanis International is a global community of volunteers who sponsor more than 150,000 service projects each year. The organization has been dedicated to serving others since 1919. Today there are more than 600,000 members representing 8,400 clubs in 96 countries. Represented in most US cities, Kiwanis is a great place to serve with others in your community.

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization seeking to alleviate poverty housing and homelessness. Nearly 2 billion people around the world live in slum housing and over 100 million are homeless. Through donations and millions of hours of volunteered labor, Habitat for Humanity works to construct simple, affordable homes for families living in sub-human conditions. On September 11, 2009, President and First Lady Obama volunteered with Habitat for Humanity to build homes in the Washington, D.C. community. Read an article about the President and First Lady volunteering.

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross is a non-profit disaster response organization that dates back to 1881. Volunteers comprise 96% of the organization. They respond to more than 70,000 disasters every year, collect nearly half of the nation's blood supply, and have educated approximately 11 million Americans in first aid, CPR, swimming, and other safety skills. Watch a video about the origins of the American Red Cross.

Find out how to get involved today!

Learn more by following the links below.

Students and alumni can also find great information on how to get connected in the service-learning section of their Student Portal. Learn more about the benefits of serving.


Ashford University Recognized for Commitment to Service

Ashford University understands the importance of community service. For the past four years, Ashford has been named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for engaging its students, faculty, and staff in meaningful service that achieves measurable results in the community.

Ashford Student Profile - Rosie Holden

The most typical definition of "giving back" engenders an image of an individual directly helping people in the community. Rosie Holden, with her innate understanding of compassion and service, is an actualization of that image.

When asked what Gay & Lesbian Pride month means to him, Dana responds with his characteristic passion. "For all of the times I am made to feel ashamed of who I am, for everyone who tells me that being gay is wrong, for every anti-gay political initiative that passes, for every hate crime committed, for the young people who have taken their own lives because they were made to feel isolated - for all of these reasons, I celebrate Pride. In this month, our collective voices say we are not ashamed."

A mother of six (four adults and two teenagers), Rosie spends her workday at St. Francis Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. She has worked for the non-profit hospital for five years, and earned a promotion to Non-Clinical Educator in January 2009, a direct result of her pursuit of a Master's degree at Ashford. "My role is to provide and coordinate education for the non-clinical associates and provide ancillary education for the hospital and the surrounding community," she says.

Part of her role involves participating in wellness fairs, and Rosie found these fairs so effective that she wanted to share the benefits with the rest of her community. For the last three years, she's been organizing and hosting wellness fairs at her church. Volunteers from the hospital come and offer wellness education on a variety of topics, such as diabetes, prostate and breast cancer, high blood pressure, etc. Rosie explains, "Many vendors have responded to the outcry for medical education in our local communities, and, due to high costs of insurance, many community members seek preventative measures to decrease the need for hospital visits."

Rosie also serves as the Training Center Coordinator, Regional Faculty, and Basic Life Support Lead Instructor for her hospital through sponsorship of the American Heart Association - this position involves teaching basic CPR, keeping records, and mentoring outside CPR sites. Each year, this branch of the Association trains over 450 students, and Rosie personally teaches more than 50 basic life support courses.

Through her various activities, Rosie has a common goal of educating people on how to "better take care of themselves physically, academically, and spiritually. The more education provided to people will not only save lives, but also provide avenues of knowledge that will assist them in making better choices."

Not surprisingly, Rosie's future goals also center on service - she wants to open her own non-profit organization. "I will call it Scholars for Change; it will provide people who are looking to make a change in their lives with the necessary tools to strategically plan for their future years. My work has been previously and continues to be for the community. I would not have it any other way."

Special Thanks

Ashford University recognizes and supports our employee and student military population, and we thank you for your service and dedication.


About Habitat for Humanity (2011.). Retrieved July 13, 2011 from Habitat for Humanity's website,

Clara Barton: The Beginnings of the American Red Cross. (July 1, 2011). [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved July 19, 2011 from

College Students Helping America (2006.). Corporation for National and Community Service. Retrieved July, 13, 2011 from

Kiwanis International. (2011.). Retrieved July 15, 2011 from Kiwanis's website,

President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll (2010). Retrieved July 13, 2011 from Corporation for National & Community Service's website,

President Barack Obama and the first lady Michelle Obama volunteer with Habitat for Humanity in Washington D.C. as part of 9/11 National Day of Service Remembrance. (September 11, 2009). Retrieved July 19, 2011 from Habitat for Humanity's website,

Van Willigen, M. (2000) "Differential Benefits of Volunteering Across the Life Course." The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 55B(5): S308-S318. Volunteer. (2011.). Retrieved July 15, 2011 from American Red Cross's website,

Volunteering/Community Service. (2011.). Retrieved on July 14, 2011 from The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement's website,

What is Service-Learning (2011.). Retrieved July 13, 2011 from National Service-Learning Clearinghouse's website,