Co l l e g e o f C h a r l e s t on
Co l l e g e o f C h a r l e s t on
BONNER? The College of Charleston Bonner Leader Program is part of the national Bonner Network that encompasses more than 60 collegiate institutions across 24 states. The four-year direct service and leadership program empowers a diverse and committed group of students to enact social change and allows them to explore, develop and integrate academics and career interests while partnering with a local community-based organization. Students not only learn, but live leadership as active citizens and catalysts for change in the global community.
BONNER LEADER PROGRAM
“Bonner is a huge commitment with tremendous reward. It will push you far outside your comfort zone, immerse you in the true Charleston community that most CofC students never see and highlight the technicolor on issues and ideas that once seemed so black and white.” – Molli Walker ’13
“This program makes you shine. The Bonner Program has become something that I can’t really imagine not having in my life at this point. Bonner is something that will push me when I feel like giving up.” – Brittany Counts ’14
2 | COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON
TEN YEARS AGO,
I was just seven months into my new position as community service coordinator of what was then the Office of Service Learning at the College of Charleston. Our office had just had a second unsuccessful attempt to hire a director, which meant many months ahead as a one-woman operation. When Bonner student co-founders Jyn Repede ’09 and Jamilla Harper ’08 had the idea to start a Bonner Leader Program, Repede had just had her wisdom teeth taken out and was figuring out how to study abroad for her senior year, and Harper had already graduated and accepted an AmeriCorps Vista position with Metanoia, a holistic community development organization. Marjorie Thomas, then–assistant vice president of student affairs, had only been with the College for nine months. It was absolutely the wrong time to start something big, but we all did it anyway. We created the Bonner Leader Program from scratch in just a few months, and by September 2 we were holding our first student information session. By the end of September, our first Bonners had been oriented, and, by the close of our first academic year, those seven students had logged more than 2,500 hours of service. By the time five of those students returned (two had been seniors) in the fall of 2009, we had secured our first five scholarships for them.
That’s why I knew from the start there was no chance I could say “no” to Jyn and Jamilla. Bringing Bonner to the College of Charleston was an opportunity to provide students with the same kind of life-changing experiences I’d had; it was their chance to make an impact in their community while developing as a leader and an active citizen. In this book, we will move past the numbers and begin to tell the stories of what Bonner really is.
In the summer of 2010, we received two major gifts. The first provided additional scholarship support for first-generation students from South Carolina; the other provided enough funding to offer each of our Bonners the opportunity to travel either domestically or abroad with their peers for a service and cultural immersion experience. By August of that summer, we had secured graduated four-year scholarships for every single Bonner.
While the program has undoubtedly changed what is possible for so many students – and will undoubtedly continue to do so – those students have also changed what is possible for so many others, including myself. I want to sincerely thank all of you who have said “yes” to Bonner – at this time, on this campus, in this community. It has changed my life in ways I never could have imagined – and, for that, I am forever indebted to all of you.
In just two years, we had gone from no program to a program of 21 students with access to four years of tuition scholarships and over $75,000 of annual private donor support. It can be easy to get caught up in these and the other impressive numbers that come from a program like Bonner. But, as a first-generation student from a family who could’ve only dreamed of helping me pay for books – much less my tuition – I know that numbers are only as important as the stories they tell. I, too, was fortunate enough to use my passion for service, social justice and community to help me pay for college.
Much Bonner Love,
Stephanie Mills Visser Director of the Center for Civic Engagement
BONNER LEADER PROGRAM
BONNER CORE VALUES Bonner Leaders encounter our common commitments in many ways throughout their time in the program. Exposure to these commitments helps Bonners develop the skills and initiative they need to go into the world prepared to live and serve as educated, culturally aware and civic-minded individuals.
Nurturing the development, resilience, thriving and sustenance of the whole person and of communities
Creating and sustaining a vibrant community of place, personal relationships and shared interests
Exploring and participating intentionally in multiple forms and dimensions of engagement, including service, political engagement, social action and public policy
Respecting the many different dimensions of personal and group identities (e.g., class, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, physical, and mental ability) and creating opportunities to dialogue and learn across them
Developing international and global understanding that enables individuals to participate successfully in an increasingly interconnected world and to appreciate and transcend national boundaries
Understanding and advocating for fairness, impartiality and equity in addressing systemic social and environmental issues
Reflecting on and exploring personal beliefs while respecting the spiritual and ethical practices and values of others
4 | COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON
BLP at CofC: A HISTORY
JYN: I was as fired up as Jamilla. As little as we knew at the time, we practically and pragmatically followed the advice Bobby Hackett gave us before departing from the conference: “Ready, Go, Get Set.”
A Conversation with Student Co-founders Jamilla Harper ’08 and Jyn Repede ’09
spring bonners serve abroad for the first time
JYN: For one meeting, I remember making a way-too-long PowerPoint presentation to introduce and advocate for Bonner at CofC. I spent hours painstakingly creating a slide with numerous puzzle pictures of the various key CofC staff and faculty. I slid each piece of the puzzle into place to show everyone the importance of their role in this amazing opportunity. I never felt bad about using my talents and skills to “sell” Bonner because I knew in my heart how important it was. If it’s a “win-win-win,” then you know it’s time to dig in. (Continued on pg. 6)
summer bonner hires first americorps vista
JAMILLA: Of course, our natural next step was to invite ourselves to the Bonneronly conference sessions! We met with the then–Bonner Foundation president and vice president, Wayne Meisel and Bobby Hackett. After the conference, I returned to the College with a fire in me to bring Bonner to campus.
SPRING vice president of bonner foundation visits cofc
THE BONNER HISTORY
SPRING jyn repede and jamilla harper attend the impact conference
It was not until Day Two, when my neighbor at the lunch table greeted me with the bynow-standard format, “I’m Brian, a Bonner from Berea College,” that I actually heard “Bonner.” For the rest of my lunch (and into nearly half of the next conference session), I asked Brian and other Bonners from his college question after question about their Bonner Leader and Scholar Programs.
JAMILLA: My very first memories of Bonner are from the Impact Conference in March 2008. Jyn did some of her usual magic by convincing the Office of Institutional Diversity to sponsor a team of six students to attend that year’s conference in Boston. On the first day of the conference, I met dozens of students who energetically introduced themselves, “Hi! I’m Mary, a Bonner from Davidson College.”
JYN: Meanwhile, I was also hearing and having conversations about Bonner. For me, it seemed like every particularly cool student with an inspiring story of community engagement, cross-cultural experiences and/or advocacy and service identified themselves as a Bonner. So, when Jamilla and I finally reconnected with our group in the evening, and her first question was, “Have you heard about this Bonner thing?”, I knew we were on to something special.
fall bonner’s first orientation
■ A MEETING OF THE MINDS.
summer bonner receives two major gifts
It all had to start somewhere though – and that’s where we start the conversation.
■ READY. GO. GET SET.
JAMILLA: Back at school, we really capitalized on the relationships that we had built and shaped over the course of our college careers. I called upon every office that I had ever engaged with, like the Office of Institutional Diversity and the Division of Student Affairs. Those connections pointed us in the direction of offices that were never on our radar before, like the Office for the Academic Experience and Office of Financial Assistance and Veterans Affairs. We learned quickly the value these offices had in embedding and institutionalizing the Bonner Leader Program at the College.
It’s taken Jamilla Harper and Jyn Repede some time to recall the details of how the Bonner Leader Program (BLP) at the College of Charleston began way back in 2008. What neither of the two student co-founders can ever really forget is how impactful Bonner would be not just in their own lives, but for the College of Charleston.
BONNER LEADER PROGRAM
Promises hit the fan and fall to the floor,
As we wait for someone else to clean this mess up.”
JYN: Despite the challenges and hard work, I felt so hopeful at the time. I knew the potential for what Bonner at CofC could offer students, the campus and the Charleston community alike. Even on the hardest days, I could never have sufficiently answered, “Why not Bonner? Why not now?” We recruited the first Bonners by attending almost every CofC orientation session and sharing our excitement about this new and upcoming program at every chance. And in that first year, with the first cohort, we did amazing things, just as the current classes of CofC Bonner Leaders are doing now. We picked up trash in local neighborhoods, studied and discussed social justice movements, begrudgingly completed our paperwork and assignments, sold hotdogs on campus and at basketball games to
fall bonner hires its first associate director bonner receives donor support for students to take summer classes
6 | COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON
spring inaugural freshman class graduates
– Excerpt from “Lint,” by Indigo Burroughs ’13
And then the reality set in. We had one month before the school year started, and we had to figure out everything. From financing the first year and developing service sites in the community to planning for and recruiting the first cohort of students – we literally had to figure it all out.
As long as action remains adjacent to intention
JAMILLA: To our shock, in July 2008, only five months after learning what a Bonner was and spending day after day working hard to connect Bonner and CofC, the key staff and faculty greenlit the start of the Bonner Leader Program at the College of Charleston. We were thrilled!
SPRING bonner hires its first part-time program coordinator
And patience is a virtue that I’d readily lose if it meant movement
■ DIGGING DEEP.
“Look, I’m through with inspiration if it only leads to being complacent
fundraise for our first-year trip to San Diego, built stairs into a canyon wall, connected with immigrants and their heartbreaking and inspiring stories, mentored high school students and so much more.
■ SO MUCH MORE THAN A MEMORY. JYN: The memory that will never fade is the spark of knowing that Jamilla and I had – that Bonner would be, and is, an integral and transformational part of the College of Charleston. JAMILLA: Fast forward to 10 years later, and we are nothing but in awe to see that this simple spark and an inaugural group of seven Bonners has blossomed into nine powerful and dynamic classes of CofC Bonner Leaders. We are so honored to have played our part in its development. And we are so very proud of the CofC Bonner Leaders and their amazing commitment to service every single day! We regularly read their blog posts to be re-inspired to continue our own journeys as agents of change!
“I learned a lot about service, social justice and leadership. [I] became more social and learned how to stand up for myself.” – Mary Lucas ’16
summer $135,000+ of americorps ed awards received by bonners college of charleston travels to davidson college for the bonner foundation’s 25th anniversary
(Continued from pg. 5)
The Corella and Bertram F. BONNER FOUNDATION Mr. and Mrs. Bonner established the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation with the hope and expectation that the impact of their support would be far reaching. It is clear that their personal journeys played a significant role in the development and direction of the Bonner Foundation.
After Mr. Bonner passed away in 1993, Mrs. Bonner traveled extensively to campuses in the Bonner Network, carrying on the Bonners’ legacy of hope, service and gratitude until her death in July 2002.
colleges and congregations, the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation seeks to improve the lives of individuals and communities by helping meet the basic needs of nutrition and educational opportunity.” The Foundation has done this primarily through developing and implementing comprehensive strategies to engage colleges, universities and congregations with their local and regional communities.
summer $74,713 of summer stipends awarded
The Bonner Foundation mission statement reads: “Through sustained partnerships with
corella and bertram f. bonner
spring bonner hits 80,000 hours of service
The Bonners’ community service can be traced to their early work providing food for families in their then–home of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Upon moving to Princeton, N.J., in 1956, they began a broad-based, ecumenical crisis ministry program housed in the Nassau Presbyterian Church. In 1989, Mr. Bonner hired Wayne Meisel as the founding president of the Bonner Foundation. Then, in 1990 – after working with the late John B. Stephenson, president of Berea College – Bertram and Corella established the first Bonner Scholars Program at Berea College in Kentucky.
spring bonner launches studentdesigned online application process
fall bonners have dedicated 8,000+ hours of service to metanoia, its first community partner
SPRING cofc bonners host their first sophomore exchange
Also from a humble beginning, Corella Allen Bonner started her journey in the rural southern town of Eagan, Tenn. She had lived in coal-mining towns in West Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky before the age of 14, when she, her mother and her siblings sought opportunity in the northern city of Detroit, Mich. There, she found work as a cafeteria cashier, attended Wayne State University at night and made sure that her younger siblings went to school. She worked her way up to manager of the cafeteria and eventually was
transferred to the Statler Hotel chain’s New York headquarters. It was there that she met Bertram Bonner. They were married four years later, in 1942.
Bertram F. Bonner put himself through college taking night classes and had been named head treasurer of Hetty Green Banks by the time he was just 22. He made many loans to New York builders, which inspired him to become involved in the real estate business. He was successful from the beginning, and – even though he lost everything in the stock market crash of 1929 – was able to regain his fortune slowly, thanks to his hard work and tremendous business acumen. His six-decade career can be credited with the building of more than 30,000 homes and apartments.
THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING... BONNER LEADER PROGRAM
“You may never understand the passion of Bonners, but you will see the passion through their hard work. No school could ever compare to a school that has Bonner. It really is life changing.” 8 | COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON
– Jazmin Dayse Garcia ’12
OUR STUDENTS 2009
cara wideman walters
roshonda carson heather crouch tristan evans richardson anwar staggers jamie winston
“Bonner helped me gain a sense of independence. I didn’t feel ‘stuck’ anymore: I knew I could go anywhere and do anything if I truly wanted to.” – Cara Walters ’09
candice coulter jazzi goode kara marnell
reba carroll andrey gause dakota isaacs brittnee leysen alarie latham patrice witherspoon
jessica branton asriel childs jazmin dayse garcia jacques johnson kristin macsherry
kyla bines angel fross ashlan bishop goodson katie kerns lackey mary lucas kirk mcswain ansley pope tayler simon carolyn walter
paul bradley jr. indigo burroughs leni phan danielle powell kristina pulido molli walker
eliza blades brittany counts martín gonzalez elizabeth burdette roberts camella scott si wofford
joey baldwin dashia drayton emma denley groppe brooke horton angela jones jasmine lazarus anjali naik julia taylor
maggie cardaropoli ayret contreras jed donkle isabel johnston lane kennedy charmaine littlejohn ariel zambrano
mercedes cain britten cowan ethan davis bianca lapaz hillary mclaurin
mason barkley yasemin darkanat erin duke kionnie epps brittnany graham jackson streiter
joy dempsey cyril langston john ly damian porter victoria randolph abigail velazquez avery wallace
“I can’t even imagine how different my life’s trajectory would be without Bonner.” – Tayler Simon ’16
BONNER LEADER PROGRAM
6.3% school of the arts
10.1% school of business
21.5% school of education, health, and human performance
36.7% school of humanities and social sciences
13.9% school of languages, cultures, and world affairs
11.4% school of sciences and mathematics
“Coming to CofC and achieving degree completion was easier for me because I had a community. In my current position, I strive to be a resource and engage students to help them find their own places on campus. Having a group you connect with on campus can be the missing puzzle piece for students in their path to graduate.” – Reba Carroll ’15
Bonner Leaders have made far-reaching impacts across the Charleston community by providing capacity-building support that allows organizations to improve their effectiveness, their efficiency and their ability to achieve measurable community and systemic change. Bonners have served more than 80,000 hours in the community, with each student serving well over 1,000 hours. A key part of Bonner’s success has been fostering intentional partnerships built in reciprocity and communitydefined engagement opportunities.
FACTS & FIGURES
18.3% WOULD NOT HAVE STAYED AT COFC WITHOUT THE BLP
“Each day I find hope in recycled wreaths and handprint trees.” – Elizabeth Burdette Roberts ’14
10 | COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON
G R A D UAT E IN 4 YEARS “It gave me the courage to volunteer wherever I am and not be afraid to do it on my own.” – Asriel Childs ’12
69% R E P O R T T H AT B O N N E R HAS INFLUENCED THEIR CAREER PAT H
OV E R
80,000 HOURS S E R V E D
“Being in different service sites throughout the city forced me to get out of my comfort zone, which I find a lot easier to do these days.” – Danielle Powell ’13
SERVICE SITE PLACEMENTS (based on cla hours)
mentorship and education
community development and advocacy
food and housing insecurity
health and patient care
HAD JOBS OUTSIDE OF THEIR SERVICE SITE DURING THE ACADEMIC YEAR
environmental cleanup and sustainability BONNER LEADER PROGRAM
PARTNERS a21 american cancer society hope lodge american red cross boys and girls club carolina studios carolina youth action project (formerly girls rock charleston) carolina youth development center center for civic engagement charleston area senior citizens charleston clemente course charleston museum charleston parks conservancy charleston waterkeeper children’s museum of the lowcountry city of charleston department of recreation, therapeutic recreation city of charleston housing and community development cusabo scholars darkness to light dee norton child advocacy center 12 | COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON
fields to families franklin c. fetter family health center green heart project habitat for humanity international primate protection league kids on point (formerly chucktown squash) lowcountry food bank metanoia musc coastal connections my sister’s house office of sustainability one80 place (formerly crisis ministries) outreach learning center at st. matthew’s palmetto community action partnership (palmetto cap) pet helpers ronald mcdonald house ryan white wellness center united methodist relief center upward bound wings for kids make-a-wish foundation: wishmakers on campus
F O R 6 2 SUMMER STIPENDS (*as of spring 2017)
39.4% 45.1% 28.2% reported being first-generation college students
reported identifying as persons of color
reported identifying as lgbtq+
60% CONTINUE TO VOLUNTEER AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH POST G R A D U AT I O N
“I plan to continue using education as a vehicle for empowerment and social change after I graduate through classroom teaching and youth organizing development.” – Isabel Johnston ’18
I have had the privilege of working in the Center for Civic Engagement directing the Bonner Leader Program. With support from a part-time program coordinator and a team of Bonner student interns, I manage all of the moving pieces that comprise our robust program. The core of what I do is facilitate the intellectual and professional development of the Bonner students, through overseeing the program components described in this publication and sustaining the partnerships with local community-based organizations.
My first experience with Bonner was 10 years ago, when I worked at the Multicultural Resource Center at Oberlin College in Ohio. I led a workshop for their Bonner students contextualizing their positionalities and critically examining what it means to do service work in a community they had just joined. Back then, it was clear to me there was something special about this program and group of students. They were not afraid to engage in the hard questions of social justice, power and privilege, and were comfortable in the gray areas, grappling with historical contexts and present realities. This certainly holds true for the Bonners at the College of Charleston. During my time at the College, I have been intentional in designing student development and leadership curriculum through the lens of social justice education. After four years of exposure to the Bonner curriculum, students build their civic leadership skills to become responsible, contributing members of society who strive for positive social change. Highlighted in the stories of this publication are the Bonners’ defining characteristics: • Bonners are the self-motivated movers and shakers on campus, with leadership roles as RAs, orientation interns, peer facilitators, teaching fellows and Greek life members, to name a few. • Bonners compassionately establish guidelines and norms for working within Charleston’s most under-resourced communities. • Bonners commit to making a difference through reciprocal community partnerships. • Bonners apply what they learn in the curriculum to help drive social change through high-impact direct service, community engagement and education and advocacy. Each year, I am inspired by students who take the lead in defining their CofC experiences. For Bonners,
undoubtedly, the program is one of those foundational experiences, as it significantly contributes to their personal and professional development. During Bonners’ four years in the progam, they serve approximately 1,200 hours in the Charleston community. Their accomplishments demonstrate the impact that a four-year civic engagement and student development model can have, and it extends well beyond the walls of the College. Bonners are a part of something bigger than themselves. They collaborate with our community members through nonprofit organizations that are doing some of the most vital and transformative work in Charleston. Our network of community partners focuses on the following issues: community development, closing the achievement gap, food insecurity, environmental justice and youth development. I want to extend gratitude to my predecessor, Laura Mewbourn, who is also responsible for where the College of Charleston’s Bonner Leader Program is today. In addition, my respect and appreciation goes to Stephanie Visser, the director of the Center for Civic Engagement, for her insight, support and trust in me to lead this program over the last four academic years. What is so remarkable about the 10th anniversary of the Bonner Leader Program at the College of Charleston is the positive impact the program has made to the campus culture and community. I am excited about the future! With Bonner Love,
Domenico Ruggerio Associate Director of the Center for Civic Engagement BONNER LEADER PROGRAM
We all have to start somewhere, and you couldn’t ask for a better starting place than Metanoia. Focused on building on the strengths of the Chicora-Cherokee neighborhood in North Charleston, S.C., Metanoia is a community development corporation that takes a holistic approach to learning and growth. In addition to establishing quality housing and generating economic development, the organization is committed to building leaders, making it the perfect choice for the CofC Bonner Leader Program’s very first service site. “Where Bonner fits so well is with our focus on leadership development from kids to high school seniors and beyond,” says Metanoia’s co-founder and CEO Bill Stanfield. “Both programs are chasing the same end goal: for these students to become the next generation of leaders in their own communities so that they can really make a change.” Dashia Drayton ’17 is a case in point. Drayton was in eighth grade when the Bonners began volunteering at Metanoia. She’d been attending Metanoia’s after-school program and Summer Freedom School since she was in third grade, but she’d never been so inspired as she was by the CofC students donating their time to help at Metanoia. “That’s what got me thinking about going to the College of Charleston and being a Bonner,” says the University of South Carolina master of social work student, who mentored the next generation at Metanoia as a Bonner. “I wanted to have the same impact they had on me.” 14 | COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON
Jacques Johnson ’12, one of Drayton’s Bonner mentors at Metanoia, gives the Metanoia Youth Leadership Academy (MYLA) credit for a lot of that impact. “It inspires and exposes the youth of the Chicora-Cherokee community to opportunities outside of their norms and encourages them to say ‘yes’ to new things. That is so powerful – and it’s such an important part of growing their leadership capacity,” says Johnson, who – in addition to volunteering with Metanoia for four years through Bonner – became the organization’s assistant director for middle and high school programs before becoming a patient care tech at MUSC. “Being a part of the MYLA and becoming a Metanoian has truly taught me what it means to be a great leader and really practice that. My experiences with Metanoia have been so life altering and motivational.” She’s not alone. “Behind those red doors I became someone I never knew I could. My students, my babies, ignited a fire in me that will burn forever,” says Brittany Counts ’14, a junior paralegal with Costner Law Firm. “At Metanoia, we exclaim we are ‘pushing forward!’ And, when I wasn’t strong enough to push, my Metanoia family carried me forward.” Camella Scott ’14 knows the feeling. “Metanoia absolutely propelled my career forward in the field of data analysis in an
incomparable way that coupled my skills and interests with advocacy and social responsibility,” says the innovation systems designer for Boston Public Schools. “Metanoia facilitated and nurtured a type of spiritual growth and authentic organizational culture that I found to be vital in understanding my place and contribution toward assetbased community development.” Kyla Bines ’16 agrees that seeing community development in action at Metanoia has shaped her career plans for the future. “Because of Metanoia, I want to further my education so that I can give back to my community and work with all types of children/young adults with diverse backgrounds,” she says. “I honestly learned so much from my experience with Metanoia. It has helped me grow in so many ways.” And, ultimately, learning and growth are the only two things Metanoia asks. “Growth and learning are non-negotiables here,” says Stacy Brown, MYLA director of operations, adding that the growth she’s seen in the Bonners themselves over their tenures with Metanoia has been pretty inspiring as well. “Even by the second year, they have learned so much. I definitely see that growth in them.” In other words, says Stanfield, “This partnership has been a win-win for us all.”
You can’t celebrate the College of Charleston Bonner Leader Program’s 10th anniversary without celebrating its very first graduate: Cara Walters ’09. Although Walters – who worked with WINGS for Kids, an organization equipping at-risk children with the social and emotional skills to succeed in school – was only in the program for her senior year, the experience still resonates and opened her eyes to the potential of life.
The Bonner Leader Program at the College came about when Jyn Repede ’09 and Jamilla Harper ’08, attended the 2008 IMPACT National Conference, an annual symposium to increase college student service and civic engagement. After being moved by a speaker from the Bonner Foundation, they made it their mission to bring the program to the College. But it wasn’t long before they graduated and the task to actually make it happen fell to the director of the Center of Civic Engagement, Stephanie Mills Visser, and her senior intern, Heather Crouch ’10.
• Class of 2009 •
“That same passion that I had for service is what I take with me everywhere,” says the English major. “Every job, no matter how menial or how much you feel like you aren’t making a difference, will open doors. Be patient, do the grunt work with a positive attitude, and you will find yourself exactly where you are supposed to be.”
For Walters, that would be the director of public relations and marketing at Spooner Health in Spooner, Wisc. “Bonner helped me to be confident in taking leaps of faith,” she says. “I worked at a summer camp in Wisconsin, then a summer AmeriCorps stint in the southern part of the state, and, a few years later, I am working for a nonprofit hospital at a director-level position. Small decisions can influence in big ways.” Being the first Bonner graduate is nice, but what she remembers most is being part of such a dynamic group that was passionate about service.
“At the same time, I had no idea that what we started would evolve into what it has today,” says Walters. “It really just felt like a fun organization of connected people who really enjoyed getting out and making a difference.” And – as anyone who’s worked with the CofC Bonners over these past 10 years can tell you – they made a big difference indeed.
• Class of 2010 •
“It was really a cool project for both of us to try and build it up and bring people in,” says Crouch, an Honors double major in business administration and Spanish. “What I loved about it, and what I still love doing, is training people to think beyond the initial level of service and how you can have a sustainable impact. It’s really exciting to see how it’s grown.
“I’m a little jealous of all the stuff they get to do now,” she adds, “but it’s awesome how much it has improved. One of Bonner’s main aims is to get people excited about service and to involve everyone. I think it is such a positive force on campus, and I’m proud to have been a part of it.” Today, Crouch is the volunteer coordinator at SKIP (Supporting Kids in Peru) in the northern coastal city of Trujillo, and Bonner could not have prepared her any better for the position. “It’s the closest job that I’ve had to this one,” she says. “A lot of the activities that I used at Bonner, I use here, like team building, doing a reading or video and discussing it. After spending that time in college while I had a lot creative energy, coming up with the different team-building activities and icebreakers and trying them out, now I can just pick them out of a bag and plan something in a few minutes.” It’s come full circle in other ways, too. Crouch is now reaching out to the Bonner Foundation to try and get some Bonner students across the nation to volunteer at SKIP. “I know that it produces really strong leaders and really service-minded people,” she says. “They would be my ideal volunteers to come down here.”
“Being a part of Bonner helped me learn how to build a team from high levels of mutual trust and respect, which are enabled by leaders who empower them and drive accountability.” – Leni Phan ’13
BONNER LEADER PROGRAM
INTERNS For former senior interns Leni Phan ’13, Ansley Pope ’16 and Angel Fross ’16, the passion for such a committed role in the Bonner Leader Program came from a place of absolute admiration and respect for the program and for their fellow Bonners. Because the program had given them so much, they were ready to give back. Their roles included, but were not limited to, facilitating dedicated, weekly discussions of challenging social justice issues with a large group of vastly different individuals; forming one-on-one connections with other members of the program; and helping decide the future of the program, both organizationally and conceptually. The role gave these former senior interns valuable strengths that they apply in their careers today. For example, Phan’s capacity for active listening, fortified through the program, carries over into her job as a Boeing business operations specialist, which requires her to “lead in the background” and both be in charge and let others take the reins. Furthermore, she has come to recognize that conflict among team members can actually be a good thing, as it leads to constructive and healthy problem solving within her company. Similarly, Pope gained the vital skill of flexibility in an ever-changing world from his role; he recognizes that even if you “pinch off leaves on a plant, the roots are still thriving and growing,” and sometimes these changes promote more growth. And Fross applies her newfound skills in facilitating dialogue with people of different backgrounds to her work with high school students. 16 | COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON
The role of senior intern significantly impacted the last year spent with the Bonner Leader Program for all three of these alumni. Phan, for example, ultimately decided to forego graduating early and stayed with the program for a fourth year so she could work with the senior class to decide the trajectory of the program’s future. After graduating, Pope dedicated the summer to supporting the leadership turnover of the senior interns and helped create tangible next steps for the program’s upcoming academic year. And – with the confidence the program gave her for stepping out of her comfort zone – Fross moved to Madrid to teach for a year after graduation. All in all, the senior intern experience propelled these strong individuals into the active, meaningfully engaged citizens that they are today.
Tristan Evans Richardson • Class of 2010 •
Tristan Evans Richardson ’10 likes her class to have relevance to her student’s lives. As a midlevel English language arts professor, she has spent the past seven years seeking out ways to make her classroom relevant to the realities of her students. “I didn’t want our classroom to be just about standards,” says Richardson of her last teaching job. “I wanted it to be a place where kids felt empowered and informed about the world around them.” As a Bonner, Richardson was able to benefit from a singular hands-on immersion in empowerment during her Engage and Empower project, which centered on the closing of Wilmot J. Fraser Elementary School. Previously located in peninsular Charleston on Columbus Street, the predominantly African American public school was shuttered at the end of the 2008–09 school year due to Charleston County School District 20’s redesign plan. “The project focused on providing a voice for the Fraser students,” explains the middlegrades education major. To do so, she partnered with Fraser school administrators. During the project, Richardson soon discovered something she had not anticipated: Politics are frequently part and parcel of public education. And, while she may not have felt fully prepared for this development at the time, it has since proven to be a valuable lesson for her as a career educator. “This project put me in a place to interact with officials and organize a public event,” says Richardson. “Without the Bonner Program, I wouldn’t have been placed in those spaces from which to learn.” At the culmination of the Fraser experience, Richardson was left with the sense that the school appreciated the effort they had put into making the students feel heard. Now, she strives to be creative, thoughtful and intentional about the decisions she makes when teaching so she can be sure that her kids are always heard. “That age can be very challenging, and many people cringe when I talk about my students,” says Richardson. “But really they are some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met.”
Candice Coulter • Class of 2011 •
Candice Coulter ’11 has always had a passion for fashion. It’s her lifelong passion for empowering children, however, that was nurtured and enriched through her work with WINGS for Kids.
“I knew from my experience with WINGS for Kids that my life’s mission was to serve children and families in some capacity,” says the sociology major. “My lifelong desire was to serve children and families, to use my voice to advocate for those who are often unheard, to be a citizen of the world, to be an advocate in my community, to empower young people to pursue their goals, no matter how far-fetched they may seem. At the time, I didn’t know I would be a therapist, but I knew I wanted to serve children and family.” It wasn’t until Coulter had graduated from the College and was working as an assistant program director with WINGS for Kids that she started thinking about being a therapist.
“It was during this time that I recognized that the skills kids are being taught at WINGS for Kids were skills all children need. This led to my decision to attend graduate school to pursue a masters in mental health counseling,” says Coulter, who earned her degree from Walden University before becoming a child and adolescent therapist at Behavioral Health Charlotte in 2012. “During my experience with WINGS for Kids, I learned how important it is to expose children to things outside their norm. It also allowed me to be a consistent presence in the lives of the children I served. I was able to witness the small changes the children experienced as a result of that. As a professional therapist, I encourage parents to understand the importance of stability, structure and consistency in the lives of children.”
“I had all these beliefs for our youth, and it pushed me to actually legitimize what I was doing and find some politics to my work – to find how I could be in the movement as an artist. It helped me understand myself as an artist who believes in activism. I try to incorporate activism in my work, and that’s kind of what they teach you in the program.” – Anjali Naik ’17
WINGS for Kids may have shown Coulter how she could fulfill her lifelong goal of serving children, but satisfying her passion for fashion was something she did all on her own. In 2015, she launched High Maintenance Boutique, an online store featuring fashion-forward and affordable women’s clothing and accessories. “I never really thought that I would have a career in fashion,” she says. “I just knew it was something that makes me really happy, and I would do it even if I wasn’t getting paid.”
That is, after all, what true passion is all about.
BONNER LEADER PROGRAM
“In October of 2009, my induction into the Bonner Leader Program served as more than a transient moment in my undergraduate college experience. It became a lifelong commitment to utilizing my talents and time to effect change and serve my local, national and global communities.” – Indigo Burroughs ’13
Jazzi Goode • Class of 2011 •
Build it, and they will shine. Second-grade teacher Jazzi Goode ’11 has seen firsthand how even the bricks and mortar of a school building can work to elevate the learning experience, particularly for students in underserved communities.
Today, Goode is a founding teacher of the Movement School, a new public charter school in Charlotte, N.C. Administered through the Movement Foundation, the school brings business, education and nonprofit efforts together in order to make a lasting impact on communities.
Goode was able to observe the positive impact of this new setting on students. After transferring from another Title 1 school on Charlotte’s West Side, she saw the marked improvement in two students who had transferred from her previous school.
“They don’t necessarily get the resources they need, so they are really excited to have a brandnew building that they can call ‘school,’” she says. “You can just see the switch in behavior and how they’re performing academically.”
The fully renovated Movement School, with its state-of-the-art amenities, has sent a powerful message to the students. Investing in their building has demonstrated that people care about them. It was during her days in the Bonner Program and her service with the WINGS for Kids inschool after-school program, that the elementary education major identified her commitment to working in Title 1 schools. She worked in some of the lowest performing schools in Charleston County, including Chicora Elementary School and North Charleston Elementary School. After graduating from the College, Goode continued working with WINGS in Charlotte. Her involvement with WINGS solidified her desire to work in Title 1 schools, while also arming her with the social and emotional skills necessary to succeed as a teacher.
“I wanted to work with kids who really needed me,” says Goode, emphasizing that managing social and emotional relationships are vital to success as a teacher.
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“I am now a better servant because of Bonner,” Goode says, noting in particular how the program enabled her to be a better advocate for her students. “I will protest or stand up for what is necessary for my kids to become successful.”
Asriel Childs • Class of 2012 •
Mahatma Gandhi is credited with saying, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Although his actual quote didn’t have that bumper-sticker succinctness to it, his message of personal accountability rings loud and clear to Bonner Leaders, especially Asriel Childs ’12.
“My main takeaway from Bonner was that I am the change that can happen in my community,” she says. “If I see a need, then that need can get one step further to being met with even the smallest action. It gave me the courage to volunteer wherever I am and not be afraid to do it on my own. Bonner influenced me to make community service a part of my everyday life.”
During her time at the College, the accounting major volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House, Metanoia and the Boys and Girls Club, but her favorite part of Bonner was the Service Saturday projects. “I always learned something new about the organization, community needs and fellow Bonners,” she says. “It meant some early mornings, but it was totally worth it.” She also learned some valuable leadership skills, which have helped her in her life now, both in the community and on the job as a senior accountant with the Belk Corporation in Fort Mills, S.C.
“I was really challenged when preparing for my Engage and Empower advocacy week event,” she recalls. “It was the first time I was hosting a campuswide event, and I was nervous about preparing everything and presenting. It pushed me to become more organized and learn how to delegate duties to my team. It was hard to try to not do everything myself, but I learned to trust others and how to better organize my time. Bonner taught me to step boldly into new situations because, even if you fail, you learn something and you can also grow from it. “I loved my experience with Bonner, and I am truly appreciative of my Bonner brothers and sisters,” she adds. “We laughed, we cried, we learned and we had fun. This was one of the best experiences of my time at CofC.”
By design, college is supposed to shape students’ future for the better. And, for these three College of Charleston alumni, perhaps no area of college life had more impact than Bonner. Like a rock thrown in a pond, the lessons learned in their Bonner experience continue to ripple through their lives today. Tayler Simon ’16 (psychology), for example, had planned to go to law school before her Bonner service work at Darkness to Light, which helps empower adults to end child sexual abuse, changed her mind. “I had an interest in social justice before Bonner, but Bonner really sparked a passion within me,” says Simon, who is now pursing her master of social work degree at the University of South Carolina and working at The Hive Community Circle, which works with marginalized communities to provide education and prevention of sexual and intimate-partner violence. “I had my first experience in the sexual violence prevention field at Darkness to Light. I was not used to seeing such a focus on prevention, rather than intervention after the fact. I can’t even imagine how different my life’s trajectory would be without Bonner.” Carolyn Walter ’16 (special education) can’t imagine where she’d be without Bonner,
either. The way diversity was integrated into Bonner’s weekly meetings and service opportunities was especially invaluable in preparing her for teaching preschool at the International School of Texas in Austin. “Aside from my daily work at child-centered service sites, the program gave me the opportunity for international travel, where I could experience cultures and ways of learning different from my own,” she says. “This was a necessity in order to prepare me to be an educator to a diverse classroom.” Those international trips were also a big influence on Jasmine Lazarus ’17 (public health), a clinic coordinator at Greenwood Genetic Center (GGC), a nonprofit that develops preventative and curative therapies for genetic diseases and birth defects.
At GGC, she coordinates and organizes the day-to-day operations of the office, including maintaining patient records, handling specimens and data entry.
“I never thought I’d have the opportunity to travel outside of the States,” she says. “Going to both Ghana and Peru has opened so many new perceptions to my life that I can apply to my field of medicine. These trips taught me a lot about the cultures and about myself as a person.”
“Being in the Bonner program has prepared me with the continuous involvement in volunteer service for all populations including race, socioeconomic status and geographic location. GGC works to improve people’s lives, enhance the environment and build stronger communities.” BONNER LEADER PROGRAM
Kara Marnell • Class of 2011 •
It was the smiles that struck Kara Marnell ’11. When the Bonner joined a service trip to Ghana’s Blessed Little Angels orphanage, she was moved by the joy animating the children’s faces.
FAMILY They say that family is what makes a home. And so, when Kristina Pulido ’13 took off for her new home at the College of Charleston, she knew she first had to find her family. “When you go to college, you have to find your people – that group that will be your family for the next four years,” says the Nashville, Tenn., native. “I wanted to be part of a community on campus.” She wanted to be part of the greater Charleston community as well. “I wanted to get to know this place I was calling home for the next four years,” says Pulido, who majored in arts management and now lives in Annapolis, Md. “I wanted to get to know the people of Charleston, get to know what it was all about. It’s all about community for me.” The Bonner Leader Program provided the family Pulido was looking for and the opportunity to get out into the Charleston community. “Having that built-in family for support during those first few weeks of college – and for the next three years – was so important for me,” she says. “Not to mention everyone was so inspiring and the work they did was so meaningful. I couldn’t have asked for a better college family. They taught me so much.” And, by the time Ashlan Bishop Goodson ’16 arrived at the College 20 | COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON
and joined the Bonner family, Pulido had a lot she could teach, too. “Kristina was a great model for me,” says Goodson, who got to know Pulido outside of Bonner as well. “In Bonner you got to see everyone in their service element, working on and learning about the social issues many were extremely passionate about. Knowing and socializing with Bonners outside of Bonner allowed me to see that this dedication to service and interest in continual social justice education was something that could be a seamless part of an otherwise very full life.” Goodson herself has become a role model: After earning her master’s in elementary education, the art history major became a third-grade teacher in Boca Raton, Fla. “Teaching has been an invaluable experience for me to grow as a person and apply the skills I learned through my service and education in Bonner,” she says. “The Bonner family to me is a community of both education and support. I still have much to learn, but I also grew immensely as a person. Bonner challenged me but also gave me a sense of security and belonging.” In other words: She felt right at home.
“These children, their smiles, made an everlasting mark on my own life,” says the software engineer, who documented those life-defining moments through photography and later shared her Ghana experiences with the College community as well as the donors who had made the trip possible.
Then, for her Engage and Empower project, Marnell created a gallery of images to illustrate the vast array of interpretations and implications of empowerment for different individuals. Her goal was to inspire others to consider their own roles as influential members of their own communities.
The toughest part of her Ghana experience was saying goodbye, knowing that she would travel home with her fellow Bonners in a jumbo jet with meal service. Parting ways with those sweetly smiling faces, she knew she was returning to a world where so many dreams come true, from a place where dreams may be as modest as sleeping on a thin mattress. Still, Marnell departed with something invaluable and lasting in tow – a deeper understanding about Ghana’s people and culture. And she left with the revelation that all humans share a culture of love, regardless of socioeconomic forces. The experience was eye opening. “It gave way to a new desire to understand, learn from and help those in need, leading me to seek out new humanitarian efforts.”
That commitment persisted as Marnell continued her studies at the College of Charleston and her service as a Bonner Leader. And, even now, she regularly revisits her Ghana days by way of her photography. “I still look back on those photos with such wonderful, powerful memories,” she says. “I hope, pray, we made a positive impact at Blessed Little Angels, even if it was just with one smile.”
Danielle Powell • Class of 2013 •
The thing about service: You can take it anywhere. The thing about community: You can find it anywhere. And the thing about Bonner: It can bring you anywhere. Danielle Powell ’13, for one, is making full use of that. “My favorite book as a kid was Children Just Like Me, a celebration of different children from around the world,” recalls Powell, who is now living in Switzerland. “I have always been fascinated by the diversity of humanity. When I realized how little I knew about other cultures, languages and traditions, I was determined for that to change.” Powell made that change first by going on a service trip to Nicaragua while in high school, but the real change started upon her joining the Bonner family at the College of Charleston and beginning her service work at Darkness to Light, WINGS for Kids and the College’s Center for Civic Engagement. “Being in different service sites throughout the city forced me to get out of my comfort zone, which I find a lot easier to do these days,” says Powell, who has spent very little time in any particular “comfort zone” since graduating. “To me, the life of adventure is one that pushes you out of your comfort zone, little by little, day by day,” says the social business advocate and communication specialist, who first worked as an au pair in Germany before she moved to Switzerland to get her master’s degree in international management. “I try to view each adventure as an opportunity for personal growth. Whether it be tackling the German language or overcoming my fear of heights by zip-lining through the jungle in Laos, I’ve fallen in love with the challenge and new perspective that comes with each experience.” And, for Powell, each new experience adds up to a life well lived. “I focus on what makes me feel happy and alive. I strive to be a good person, engage with my community, keep an open mind and open heart and explore as much as possible,” she says. “I often check in with myself by asking: ‘If I were to die today, am I happy with the life I have led?’ If the answer is no, it’s time to make a change.” And – thanks to Bonner – Powell has the confidence to make whatever change she needs. “Bonner was a space that was filled with love and support and optimism that change is possible,” Powell says. “Bonner instilled the value of giving back to the community and trusting in my ability as a leader, no matter the setting.”
Molli Walker • Class of 2013 •
The most memorable Bonner experience for Molli Walker ’13 was New Year’s Eve 2012, when the juniors and seniors were all in Morocco for an international service trip and were assigned to vastly different service sites. Some had the best day of their lives, others the most heart-wrenching. “We all came back together to process our experiences, listen and encourage each other,” recalls Walker, now a medical student at MUSC. “As we entered into a new year, I remember thinking back to how awkward we all were at our first orientation years before and how much we had grown. In a completely foreign country on the other side of the world, we felt at home together as a Bonner family who accepted and understood each other even when there were no words to make everything better.” Indeed, the Honors College biology major grew from an unsure freshman into a self-assured senior over her four years working with the Boys & Girls Club, the Franklin C. Fetter Family Health Center and the Center for Civic Engagement. “From weekly hours at my service site and early morning Service Saturdays, to being immersed in a group of passionate people confident they can change their world,” she says, “Bonner pushed me to be deliberate with my time and has made staying actively engaged in my community after college a priority instead of a burden, because I have seen how worthwhile it is time and again.”
“Pushing myself out of my comfort zone meant speaking up, being vulnerable and sharing my unique perspective during what sometimes could be very deep discussions, even though my point of view may not have been relatable or fully understood.” – Leni Phan ’13
Even with the heavy demands of medical school, Walker still finds time to be involved in STEM outreach and the James Island Outreach food pantry, thanks to what she learned as a Bonner Leader. “Bonner is a huge commitment with tremendous reward,” she says. “It will push you far outside your comfort zone, immerse you in the true Charleston community that most CofC students never see and highlight the technicolor on issues and ideas that once seemed so black and white.”
BONNER LEADER PROGRAM
Eliza Blades • Class of 2014 •
It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes an entire community to raise a leader. “My family instilled in me the value of service and being involved in your community at a young age. I knew I wanted to serve others, and needed to find a group that had similar values,” says Reba Carroll ’15, who chose to apply for Bonner because it described itself as a family. “I knew that they would make the Charleston community feel like home through service and involvement.” And it was that community that led the psychology major to a career in higher education student affairs. “Professionally, Bonner changed my entire life. Without it I would’ve never found my path in student affairs or the passion I have for student development,” says Carroll, a hall director at Stephen F. Austin State University who is currently pursuing her master's degree in student affairs in higher education. She adds: “While I was in Bonner, my advisor Laura Mewbourn showed us that college was not only a place for academics, but a space where we were safe to develop on a personal level. It was her impact and the students that I was surrounded with in Bonner that made me choose this field. Now I am paying it forward and trying to do the same for my students.”
people working toward a common goal to provide a framework where students can focus on their studies and what they plan to contribute to the world. Being a part of such a team lets me know that my efforts serve a greater purpose,” says the assistant to the chief of staff at Winthrop University. “What I appreciate about higher education is the telos of the institution – it’s all about selfimprovement, greater perspective, fostering a sense of community and ultimately becoming a better person in a comprehensive way.” Paul Bradley Jr. ’13 credits Bonner with much of his comprehensive growth as a person and as a professional.
It’s the same thing that drew Kirk McSwain ’16 to higher education.
“Professionally, I learned from Bonner to be patient with my team, know my worth, be confident in my skills and give back to those around me. And I learned the importance of dedicating yourself to a career that you love rather than doing something for the love of money – and of knowing your impact in the world,” says the program coordinator for student involvement in the Department of Student Life and Engagement at Augusta University. “Personally, I learned to challenge the norm, be yourself and have pride in who you are. And I learned the value of lifelong relationships.”
“College is a wonderful experience that takes a lot of passionate and committed
After all, those relationships are what make the Bonner community so strong.
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For Eliza Blades ’14, Bonner was the first place she felt comfortable being an out lesbian. “Bonner surrounded me with peers who were very different from me, but we all found love for one another in our dedication to making the world a more just and loving place,” explains Blades. “That true welcome is something that I hold so dear and one that continues to motivate me to be a community builder in my personal and professional life.” As a Bonner volunteer for Charleston Area Senior Citizens (CASC), Blades listened to the CASC members explain their needs. She then launched the Bingo and Beyond program. Through the biweekly initiative, student volunteers and senior citizens engaged in health and wellness activities while having intergenerational eye-opening conversations. Her efforts certainly helped build community and made people feel welcome. Now, as program coordinator at Princeton University’s Pace Center for Civic Engagement, Blades welcomes both students and community members who wish to get involved in service. She encourages students to ask questions about their impact before they engage in service, not as an afterthought. “Being a CofC Bonner taught me that,” says Blades. “We had weekly training on topics such as allyship, gender equality, community building, faith and service, racial equality and class equality. These topics helped me think about my identity and the multiple identities present within communities that I serve – to always be aware of power and privilege at play within every act of service in which I engage.” Blades credits the Bonner Foundation for priming her to embrace her chosen profession. And she should know. She not only experienced the benefits of the Bonner Program as a student; when she graduated in 2014, she worked for the Bonner Foundation as a program associate. “Bonner at CofC taught me that we all must find our unique gifts that allow us to be active citizens in our communities,” says Blades. “I’m so grateful for the foundation that the program provided and continues to provide for me.”
Elizabeth Burdette Roberts • Class of 2014 •
Service work can open up possibilities, hopes and dreams. It can open hearts, minds and eyes. In fact, for everyone involved, service work can open worlds.
“When you step outside yourself and help your community, you’re exposing yourself to people who are different from you, engaging in different conversations, broadening your worldview,” says Elizabeth Burdette Roberts ’14, who joined the Bonner Leader Program knowing that she’d be both supported and challenged as she expanded her own perspectives. “The opportunity to meet people who are different from you is unlike anything else. It really is the most diverse group of students on campus in terms of backgrounds and perspectives. The support you receive with Bonner is a great feeling too. I feel like it was great luck to be part of that.” Roberts’ service sites included the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, Darkness to Light and the Outreach Learning Center at St. Matthew’s, where she taught ESL. “That’s how I became passionate about immigrants and refugees,” says Roberts, who also credits her Bonner experience with her decisions to change her major from English to sociology, go into AmeriCorps VISTA and pursue a M.A. in sociology from the University of Louisville. “It paved the way for what I’ve become and shaped my path in a big way. It changed me as a person and the way I view the world as a whole.” Perhaps her most eye-opening Bonner experiences were on her Alternative Break service trips to Puerto Rico, San Francisco, Guatemala and Morocco.
“Just getting to be immersed in those cultures was really powerful and opened up my eyes to a lot of social justice issues,” she says. “Each trip had a powerful impact on my understanding of the world.”
“The Goldsmith Scholarship greatly impacted my life. … Without [their] generous funding of my undergraduate education, continuing on in school would have been an unlikely dream. … Both of my parents immigrated to this country and sacrificed everything for me and my sister; that makes this feeling of accomplishment that much more special for me. … I will never forget the impact that [this] family has had on my life.” – Martín Gonzalez ’14
By the time Roberts graduated from the Honors College in 2014, even her idea of what service really means had expanded. “It’s bigger than showing up at a soup kitchen. It’s a lifestyle. It’s an approach that recognizes others and how they’re perceived by society,” she says. “It’s a shift to social mindedness and an appreciation for the diversity among us.” Having returned to the Honors College as its assistant director for strategic admissions, Roberts hopes to pass that appreciation along to the next generation of students. “I am very proactive in diversifying our students at the Honors College,” she says. “It can make a big difference in students’ success to have different kinds of people with different interests and different perspectives around them.” Indeed, it can open worlds.
BONNER LEADER PROGRAM
“Being a part of the Bonner Leader Program meant being a part of a supportive, diverse and incredibly tight-knit team. When, as a freshman, I had the ambition to take a team down to Florida for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Disney Princess Half Marathon, I had the backing of my fellow Bonners. They helped me gain the skills necessary to lead a volunteer trip out of state and showed their support of what was important to me by volunteering to join me on this endeavor.” – Brittnee Leysen ’15
FOODBANK Allyson Elrod-Bloom ’14 wasn’t a Bonner, but she worked closely with the program when she graduated with a public health degree and began serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA in the College of Charleston’s Center for Civic Engagement. There, she organized volunteer opportunities for CofC students while also working with community partners addressing hunger and homelessness in Charleston. She worked closely with the Bonner students, organizing events like the fall 2014 Alternative Break in Charleston and the Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. It was during the Alternative Break trip that Elrod-Bloom first volunteered at Lowcountry Food Bank (LCFB), an organization that leads the fight against hunger throughout coastal South Carolina by distributing 28 million pounds of food each year. The experience was so inspiring that Elrod-Bloom went on to join their Child Hunger Program team. “The first thing I wanted to do was get the Bonner and CofC students engaged,” she says. “It’s all come full circle.” Bonners began serving at LCFB last fall. “What stands out most about them is their understanding of the social justice issues that we currently face,” says ElrodBloom. “When you observe a Bonner
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meeting, you see a group of students who are well informed and empathetic, students who know how to be engaged in these issues in appropriate and meaningful ways. Sometimes they come into the office and the work isn’t exciting, but they understand that filling out paperwork for a government program is just as important as providing direct service to clients.” With their commitment to service, adaptability and knowledge, Bonner Leaders have qualities that are hard to beat. “I have one Bonner who’s been working on surveys that we can use to determine the types of food to serve children of various ages enrolled in after-school programs,” says Elrod-Bloom. “She also volunteers at the Children’s Museum, so her experience with children provides her with the ideal skill set needed to make these surveys kid-friendly while helping us get meaningful feedback. “We really appreciate the partnership with the Bonner Program,” she adds. “We are so excited to see what we can accomplish over the coming years.”
Martín Gonzalez • Class of 2014 •
By the time Martín Gonzalez ’14 got to the College of Charleston, he already knew the importance of reaching out and being part of something bigger than himself. By the time he left the College, he’d come to understand the importance of digging in and finding something deeper within himself. “I had always been heavily involved in community service and trying to give back to others,” says Gonzalez. “When I saw that Bonner was offered at CofC, I jumped on the opportunity. The idea of being something bigger than myself and being surrounded by individuals that share the same passion as me sounded like the perfect opportunity.” That opportunity led him to WINGS for Kids, where he worked with a group of at-risk fourth-grade boys, teaching them social and emotional skills through various discussions and group projects. “As time went on, I became more and more confident in my public speaking abilities and working with others. I was able to develop my interpersonal and communication skills,” says Gonzalez, a Hispanic studies major who is now in his second year of a doctorate of physical therapy program at Langston University in Oklahoma. “The program influenced me to set high standards for myself and maintain a high level of integrity in all aspects of my life.” And he maintains that integrity wherever he goes – even in Morocco, where he went in 2012 for Alternative Break. “I think the most powerful part of the trip was serving at the local hospital and learning about the Islamic faith and how it compared/contrasted to Catholicism,” he says. “I was challenged to learn more about the historical and factual aspects of religion and truly delve down into myself to decide who I am as a person.” And delve he did. “As a result, some of my beliefs and preconceived notions were challenged, and I grew immensely as person,” says Gonzalez. “After my four years in the program, I left being more open-minded and understanding the importance of diversity.” He’s using that understanding to fuel his goals for the future: opening a physical therapy practice that serves both underprivileged minorities and the predominantly Spanish-speaking elderly community. It makes sense – after all, Gonzalez has always known the importance of being part of something bigger than himself.
Mary Lucas • Class of 2016 •
What happens when you combine two great programs at the College: REACH and Bonner? You get Mary Lucas ’16, the first REACH student to become a Bonner Leader. REACH is a four-year, fully inclusive certificate program for students with mild intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.
“I always felt accepted and that Bonner was a safe space,” says Lucas, who volunteered at the Center for Civic Engagement, the Center for Women and the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry. “That is very important to me as a queer disabled woman. Over the two years I was in Bonner, I met the most genuine and diverse group of people. I made some of the best friends. Bonner becomes your family.” The women’s and gender studies major also gained some valuable leadership experience while facilitating a Bonner meeting about disability and media representation. She even co-led an Alternative Break to Ghana, Africa, her senior year after traveling to Cuba her junior year.
“The terminology around ‘developing’ and ‘Third World’ countries started to become problematic to me after our service trips,” she says. “We look at other countries as subpar to us. Going to Cuba and Ghana, I became aware of how much the individuals there take pride in quality time and family. We, as a society, are a very materialistic one, never more than two feet away from our cell phones. Quality and family time are always interrupted by little distractions.”
Still, back home, Lucas always appreciated a little “family time” with her Bonner family – especially at the Tuesday night meetings.
“We would have conversations around activism, social justice and community impact,” she recalls. “I came to each meeting ready to learn, engage and gain knowledge. I became more social and learned how to stand up for myself. “It’s not always easy when you come into a space with people from different backgrounds, beliefs, values and morals,” she adds, “but Bonner helped me become more open minded. Being a Bonner Leader became integral to my college experience.”
BONNER LEADER PROGRAM
Joey Baldwin • Class of 2017 •
Joey Baldwin ’17 isn’t your typical Bonner – at least that’s the way he sees it.
“My Bonner experience was not super traditional. I did not have the same kind of experience as others did,” says the computer science major, who characterizes much of his service as “administrative.” You could also call it “transformative.”
Baldwin is responsible for transitioning the CofC Bonner Leader Program’s application process from paper to digital. “At the time, the references and applications were all done on paper, so they had to record everything manually,” he says. “As you might imagine, it was fairly ineffective.”
After scouring existing formats from institutions throughout the Bonner Network, Baldwin used his computer skills to design the first drafts of the current digital application. It was just one of the many projects that he took on. In fact, as the marketing and communications coordinator in the College’s Center for Civic Engagement, Baldwin made it his goal to create and implement a custom CRM system for volunteer recruitment and management.
“This project became a particularly important focus of Joey’s work in the center, as he bridged his interest and experience in social entrepreneurship with the principles of social responsibility espoused by the center,” says Domenico Ruggerio, associate director of the Center for Civic Engagement, noting that – for Bonner’s programmatic series, Engage and Empower – Baldwin also co-organized the “You Got Served” Volunteer Fair, connecting CofC students with volunteer opportunities at local nonprofits. Baldwin’s ability to project manage, coupled with his computer science skills, have served him well since graduation – though he credits Bonner for his decision to take his current job as associate software engineer at Snagajob.
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“The career I ended up taking is culturally influenced by Bonner,” he says, explaining that he turned down a position with a well-known company because of the service-oriented mission at Snagajob. “It’s a little more civic minded. There is more of a culture for social change here. That is important to me.”
Anjali Naik • Class of 2017 •
College life is all about growth. It’s about figuring out what we want out of life, what we want to do, who we want to be, how we define ourselves. For Anjali Naik ’17, nothing was more defining than the Bonner Leader Program and the service work she did with Girls Rock Charleston (now the Carolina Youth Action Project).
“I did a lot of organizing with them and really grew in the organization up to the point where I cofounded their after-school program that’s currently in place,” says the computing in the arts major. “It is now the first alternative-to-incarceration program in South Carolina, and the youth learn and organize together using music and art as a vehicle for self-expression and social change. We understand that art can be used to get people to listen, particularly to girls and trans youth of color.” Just as the program helped the youths open up and feel accepted, it also helped define Naik, now an ambient and popelectronic musician in Chapel Hill, N.C.
“I had all these beliefs for our youth, and it pushed me to actually legitimize what I was doing and find some politics to my work – to find how I could be in the movement as an artist,” she says. “It helped me understand myself as an artist who believes in activism. I try to incorporate activism in my work, and that’s kind of what they teach you in the program.” She also grew and learned about herself in the weekly meetings, including the socialjustice programming, critical dialogue and talks by insightful guest speakers.
“My freshman year,” she recalls, “we did an identity-walk exercise, and it was my first time understanding intersectionality – being a femalebodied person, a person of color and a queer person, and how they can interact with one another.” Those meetings also taught her that communication is everything.
“I really learned how to talk about issues with people – which I think a lot of people don’t even get the chance to do,” she says. “The way that you communicate things can change or define your situation. Bonner was the highlight of my college career. It’s the best decision I ever made at the College.”
ON POINT Sometimes, the road to opportunity runs right through a squash court. That’s the ingenious philosophy of Kids on Point, a Charleston-based nonprofit that harnesses academic support, athletics, mentoring and service learning as vehicles to build skills essential to future academic and professional success for their scholars. “Kids on Point introduces young people to the world of opportunity outside of their under-resourced neighborhoods,” says Lauren Herterich, executive director of Kids on Point. So how does squash figure in? The organization discovered that you need a hook. Through year-round academic, athletic and enrichment activities, Kids on Point does far more than just sharpen a young person’s squash game. What’s unique about their programming is that they dedicate 6–12 years of service to each of their students, more than 450 direct service hours each year, six weeks of summer learning and college advising. At any given time, 10–15 percent of the Kids on Point team is powered by Bonners. “Volunteers are every nonprofit’s dream,” says
Herterich, who has unquestionably found a dream come true in a steady stream of Bonners. “Our Bonner mentors believe in our organization and what it stands for. We couldn’t do our work without their support.” Herterich cites dedicated volunteers like Britten Cowan ’19, a current Bonner who has been mentoring children from Kids on Point for three years. “Britten gives time and energy to help others succeed, and, like other Bonners, has made a profound difference in all areas of our program.” For Cowan, Kids on Point offered a chance to work with children, which was a new experience. “At first, I was unsure if I could handle being around middle schoolers, but I grew to love the kids,” says Cowan, who has now been with the program for six semesters. “It’s important to recruit the right people,” says Herterich. “The College of Charleston and Bonner staff have done an excellent job in selecting the participating students.” She cites qualities like dedication, consistency, passion and leadership skills, as well as how philanthropically driven they are. “It’s really the Bonners themselves who are standouts,” says Herterich. “From Day One, they give 100 percent.” Former Bonner Patrice Witherspoon ’15 credits the Bonner program and her time with Kids on Point with helping her shape the career she wants. “Bonner is the reason why I want my career to include both public health and civic engagement.”
Witherspoon also found the Bonner approach to service well suited for her work with Kids on Point. “It includes service, education and reflection,” says Witherspoon, “which helped me explain to the students how to properly engage in a service project.” Not only do Bonners help kids forge a brighter future, but they may also be forging their own next chapter. “I plan on recruiting a few of them when they graduate,” says Herterich. “Their selfless commitment and efforts will help drive change in the Charleston community.” BONNER LEADER PROGRAM
• Class of 2017 •
It all started with her grandfather. When Julia Taylor ’17 was in her senior year of high school, she became the caretaker of her aging relative, an undertaking that has shaped nearly every day of her life since.
When it comes to serving economically disadvantaged South Carolinians, it’s all about partnership. Such is the philosophy of Palmetto Community Action Partnership (Palmetto CAP). The nonprofit serves residents of Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties by increasing self-sufficiency and developing strategies to promote economic independence through partnerships. “Palmetto CAP provides them with basicneeds assistance and empowerment services in an effort to end poverty,” says Chelsi Howard Conaway, Palmetto CAP's community relations director. The organization itself has found a valuable partnership to carry out its mission. Since 2015, it has joined forces with the Bonner Leader Program, working with Bonners such as Mercedes Cain ’19. Cain works with Palmetto CAP, and her service currently accounts for 25 percent of the department's workforce. What’s more, Palmetto CAP has hired Cain outside her Bonner assignment for clerical and research tasks. “Bonners are focused, dedicated, missiondriven and compassionate,” says Conaway, who is deeply appreciative of how these qualities help further the organization’s mission. “The work of fighting poverty can be tedious, and self-motivation is key. It is also imperative that those 28 | COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON
who work with the families we serve be open-minded and eager to help. Our Bonners have all shared that trait.” Palmetto CAP also worked with Cain to plan and execute her Engage and Empower event, Adult-ish. Conaway was impressed by the level of thought and intention that went into the program. “We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to provide financial literacy to so many eager students.” Cain also coordinated Palmetto CAP’s most recent Community In Action Day, which brought community partners together to provide resources and education to the citizens of rural Berkeley County. “Our faith-based community resource guide, Disrupt Poverty series and Calling All Colors youth conference were all wildly successful because of the many hours our Bonners have committed to research,” says Conaway. “We couldn’t have done it without them!”
Taylor’s management of her grandfather’s care not only provided crucial assistance to a member of her family, it also launched her on a profound and lasting immersion in the field of gerontology. “I hope to go into palliative and hospice care,” says Taylor, who is applying to nursing school in order to make her dream a reality. While pursuing her undergraduate degree, Taylor took classes that piqued her interest in gerontology, exploring topics such as death and dying, social gerontology and aging and the family.
“Professor Brenda Sanders and Professor George Dickinson were driving forces behind molding my love for the study of older/aging populations,” says Taylor. “I learned a lot from them.” As part of her Bonner service, Taylor worked with Charleston Area Senior Citizens, a nonprofit agency providing programs and services to promote the wellbeing of aging persons living in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties.
“It was an amazing experience that gave me a different perspective from the nonprofit sector with low-income housing for older populations,” shares Taylor, adding that she aims to work with individuals and families in the process of palliative or hospice care. Taylor’s days as a Bonner were also instructive to her chosen profession in numerous, intangible ways. For instance, she discovered how best to word things when navigating sensitive issues.
“I also learned a lot from people in Bonner by just listening and being a sounding board,” she explains. “I learned that you don’t always have to say something back or have the perfect answer, but it is important that you are able to listen to others.” For Taylor, the Bonner Program has been nothing less than transformative, shoring up her skills and offering her a path toward self-awareness that abides today. “Bonner provided me with situations that shaped the backbone I have today,” she says. “I am grateful that I was able to identify who I wanted to be as a person after going through the program.”
WATERKEEPER When it comes to advocating for cleaner waterways in Charleston, the tide continues to rise. This is due in part to the continued efforts of Charleston Waterkeeper, the environmental nonprofit organization that works to protect and restore the quality of local waterways for the Charleston community and for future generations. What’s more, that success is regularly buoyed by the service of Bonner Leaders. “We’re a really small team,” says Cheryl Carmack, staff scientist at Charleston Waterkeeper. She estimates that anywhere from 25 to 40 percent of the organization has been made up of Bonners since the partnership started around seven years ago. Much of the team’s work focuses on the organization’s data-driven programs, advocacy campaigns and promotion of wise stewardship decisions through education and outreach activities. Brittnany Graham ’20, a current Bonner and marine biology major, came to the College of Charleston specifically to work closely with the water and to understand how water impacts those who live near it. “Doing hands-on work with the cleanups – along with behind-the-scenes organizing and data analyzing – really showed me that so much more goes into an environmental nonprofit to help educate the community and keep the waterways clean,” says Graham. Lane Kennedy ’18 has also taken a deep organizational dive into Charleston Waterkeeper. She started there in her second semester of college, helping with organization and outreach.
“I knew I would be most passionate working with an environmental organization,” says Kennedy, who was able to reestablish a connection between the Bonner Leader Program and Charleston Waterkeeper that a previous Bonner had developed a few years ago. That connection has proven to be mutually beneficial. At one point, staff members asked Kennedy to help with a program they were hoping to develop: a citizen-science water-quality monitoring program. The results of Kennedy’s work greatly impressed Carmack and her team. “She came back after a couple of weeks with an app she had designed for the program, completely free of cost!” says Carmack. “Both of our current Bonners, Lane Kennedy and Brittnany Graham, are outstanding. I’m continuously impressed by them, especially how innovative they are with our limited resources.” Carmack is also impressed by the Bonners’ dedication, dependability and passion for service. “Really, everything they do helps further our mission because they are so involved,” she says. “We are able to accomplish so much more because of their dedicated efforts.”
“In retrospect, I was much more self-centered and cynical before joining Bonner. Our weekly conversations on challenging topics really opened my eyes to a diversity of perspectives, which slowly changed the way I interpreted the world around me, both in societal injustices that too often go unnoticed and the capacity for individuals to make a lasting and meaningful impact on their communities on the road to progress. Toward this end, I shifted my priorities in career choice from being primarily concerned with what was best for me to instead what was best for my community.” – Kirk McSwain ’16 BONNER LEADER PROGRAM
“I was very proud to be a part of such a dynamic group of people who were really passionate about service. At the same time, I had no idea that what we started would evolve into what it has today.” – Cara Walters ’09
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EXPERIENCE The Bonner Program is built along a four-year developmental model for students. This model translates into a scaffolded set of expectations and experiences, both in the context of community service and engagement and within students’ academic and cocurricular learning. The extensive and ongoing education, training and reflection they participate in equips them to take on evermore challenging responsibilities as they advance so they may continue to grow as community leaders and become exemplary service leaders.
about the FIVE E’S
The four-year student development model has five stages, referred to as the “Five E's.” These are implemented in co-curricular, curricular and integrated ways. In service positions with schools, governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations, students learn and apply a variety of skills and knowledge areas. Their work builds the capacity of programs, organizations and communities.
EXPECTATION — Bonner Programs intentionally recruit and accept students who show an interest in and commitment to community service and engagement.
EXPLORE — New Bonners are
intentionally involved in a variety of service sites and activities, which helps them to then identify their passions and make a long-term commitment to a particular place (community), site and issue area.
EXPERIENCE — Students then
focus on developing more skill and knowledge within their given place (community), site and issue areas. They begin to understand more deeply the mission, operations and programs of a particular agency and to develop greater understanding of community issues.
“What I loved about it, and what I still love doing, is training people to think beyond the initial level of service and how you can have a sustainable impact.” — Heather Crouch ’10
EXAMPLE — As students progress, they take on expanded service leadership roles and responsibilities on campus and in communities (often local, national and global). They may lead and mobilize students at their site and engage in complex projects like related undergraduate research. EXPERTISE — Finally, students work
on community-engaged capstone projects, often in the site or issue area in which they have engaged for multiple years. They even initiate program development or assume management. Students often integrate academic studies, through capstones and career interests. Students create a culminating public Senior Presentation of Learning, an opportunity to reflect on and share their entire developmental journey, learning and accomplishments with peers, faculty, partners and family. BONNER LEADER PROGRAM
ORIENTATION Each academic year, the first-years are introduced into the program over a weekend-long orientation with juniors and seniors. During this orientation, they learn more about the program and its expectations and have the opportunity to ask
“I think one of the most impactful takeaways from Bonner is, when it comes to an issue or identity that you are not educated on, ask questions and be willing to learn.” – Mary Lucas ’16
questions and start thinking about a community partner they are interested in working with. Most importantly, this is the first opportunity that students have to engage with their class and the group as a whole. They begin to bond through team-building exercises and goal-setting workshops that encourage them to explore possibilities for their time in the program – academically, socially and personally. 32 | COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON
and instills the power of building coalitions for positive social change. Further, Bonners participate in a joint direct service experience, thereby forming bonds throughout the Bonner network.
EXCHANGE Sophomore Exchange is an annual Bonner experience in which sophomore Bonners host or travel to another university to meet their respective counterparts and exchange knowledge and experience. Participants share the structure and history of their programs and explore some social issues relevant to their communities and community partners. The Bonners learn how various issue areas, such as food and housing insecurity, may look similar or different depending on the location. This complicates their understanding of root causes
“To be welcomed into the Bonner Leader Program of another university was humbling and made me realize that I should leave all my preconceived notions at the door. There is no one right way to do Bonner. That’s the magic of it. Each university’s interpretation and application of the program’s core values serve to mold students differently, emphasizing community engagement and social justice education through a myriad of ways. ” – Bianca LaPaz ’19
Over the past 10 years, College of Charleston sophomores have traveled or hosted Bonner Programs from Berry College, BirminghamSouthern College, Davidson College, High Point University, Morehouse College, Pfeiffer University, Spelman College, Wofford College, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and University of North Carolina at Charlotte. BONNER LEADER PROGRAM
“Engage and Empower let me utilize my experience and creativity to educate others on issues that I’m passionate about and make a real impact on my campus. I was able to put leading, planning and logistics skills in action to engage my peers through an event of my team’s design. To be able to bring our own vision into reality was truly empowering.” – Lane Kennedy ’18
engage and EMPOWER
Each spring, the Bonner Leader Program hosts an annual programmatic series called Engage and Empower. This series aims to bring awareness about various social issues to the wider campus community. During their third year, the junior Bonners lead teams of their peers in creating an event for the entire campus. Bonners have hosted lectures, exhibits, games and panel discussions in an effort to increase awareness of and engagement in their issue areas. 34 | COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON
senior CAPSTONE In their final year, seniors are expected to complete a capstone project that benefits their service site or the Bonner Program as a whole. Capstone is both a process and an event that asks each Bonner to reflect on their social justice community work as it connects to their academic studies. Students articulate communal and personal transformation brought about through their time and work as a Bonner Leader.
“I was always interested in Latin America, and we went on a trip to San Diego when I was in Bonner and worked on some immigration issues at the border. That sparked a lot of things for me, like, ‘Yes, this is what I want to work on.’ I worked with immigration in D.C. for five years.” – Heather Crouch ’10
BONNER LEADER PROGRAM
Alternative Break is a nationwide program that allows college students to spend their academic breaks exploring a specific social justice issue through direct service trips.
SATURDAY Service Saturdays have been a Bonner staple since the beginning of the program and were born out of Bonnersâ€™ desire to serve alongside their peers. This is a time for students to bond and reflect as a group on a common issue affecting their community. 36 | COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON
Students prepare for these trips using the triangle of quality community service model, which emphasizes the importance of education and reflection alongside direct service. Immersion in the issue begins long before the trip itself. Bonners educate themselves and each other and then do hands-on work with relevant organizations.
These experiences challenge Bonners to think critically and compassionately – and to understand that there’s no such thing as “not my problem.” Upon return, Bonner Leaders are empowered to make more informed decisions and to take meaningful action that supports a greater good.
“Going to both Ghana and Peru has opened so many new perceptions to my life that I can apply to my field of medicine. These trips taught me a lot about the cultures and about myself as a person.” – Jasmine Lazarus ’17
First- and second-year Bonners travel domestically, and juniors and seniors travel internationally. Bonner Leaders at the College of Charleston have had the opportunity to travel to six cities across the country, one U.S. territory and five countries. Bonners have served over 6,000 hours across more than 40 service partners. BONNER LEADER PROGRAM
MAY 2011 Ghana
MARCH 2013 Puerto Rico
DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012 Peru
– Indigo Burroughs ’13
“I realized on this trip that you often find the soul of a people in the roads less traveled. As a testament to that, I still communicate with people who live in Pisco [Peru] from that trip to this day. Additionally, the same rings true for every trip that I’ve taken since then. That connectivity is very special and important to me.”
DECEMBER 2009/JANUARY 2010 New Orleans
Puerto R ico
OCTOBER 2013 Washington, D.C.
– Molli Walker ’13
“In a completely foreign country on the other side of the world, we felt at home together as a Bonner family who accepted and understood each other even when there were no words to make everything better.”
DECEMBER 2012/JANUARY 2013 Morocco
DECEMBER 2011 Puerto Rico
MARCH 2011 San Francisco
DECEMBER 2008 San Diego
A LT E R N AT I V E B R E A K
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BONNER LEADER PROGRAM
– Maggie Cardaropoli ’18
“At a Break Away Conference in Ferguson, Mo., I learned about how each type of volunteer is needed throughout a movement. By working on community beautification projects, cleaning up after protests, supporting afterschool programs and advocating for a grassroots organization on social media, I learned how different methods can be taken to fight for racial justice. These skills were transferable when I led an Alternative Break trip and utilized the unique skills of each participant.”
MARCH 2018 Asheville
MAY 2017 Peru
MARCH 2016 Ghana
MARCH 2015 Cuba
MARCH 2014 Guatemala
DECEMBER 2017 Cuba
NOVEMBER 2016 New York City
OCTOBER 2015 New York City
OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2014 Washington, D.C.
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STIPENDS “My Summer Stipend allowed me to take courses, … which allowed me the freedom to accept an internship through the Disney College Program ... and still graduate in 3.5 years. ... I would not have been able to afford to take the opportunities offered to me during my undergraduate education if it were not for the support and assistance of the Bonner Leader Program.” – Brittnee Leysen ’15
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Each summer, Bonners think intentionally about how to spend their breaks in a way that builds on their academic career, helps them develop professionally and/or allows them to continue following their passion for service with their community partner. Summers provide excellent opportunities to pursue internships both at home and away, to study abroad and to take classes. Summer Stipends enable our students to focus first and foremost on pursuing these life-changing opportunities. SUMMER STIPENDS HAVE ALLOWED THE FOLLOWING OPPORTUNITIES: • A computing in the arts major continued serving with her local partner, organizing a summer camp focused on music and the empowerment of girls and trans youth. • A public health major traveled to Boston for a pharmacology conference on increasing the quality of patient care by decreasing pharmaceutical costs. • A communication major interned with two boutique public relations firms in New York City. • A studio art major interned in a small design studio in Paris. • A business major volunteered with the AMIGOS program in Peru and became fluent in Spanish.
BONNER SELECTION COMMITTEE During the summer, teams of students interview applicants and choose the incoming class. The student-centered structure of the program makes it vital for current Bonners to have a voice in selecting the incoming cohort, since they will serve and learn together in the coming years.
other ways WE LEAD SENIOR INTERNS Bonner is a student-run organization, and the senior intern role has been filled by 1–3 students. Interns plan meetings and ensure that all the other pieces of the program run smoothly, including capstone projects and Engage and Empower. Senior interns are part of creating the structure, content and overall vision for each year.
BONNER LOVE Bonner Love is powered by a commitment to service, to community and to one another. It is the intangible force that transforms students into a family. It is built through serving alongside one another and is most evident during connectedness meetings, coffee hours, study time, birthday affirmations and group travel. Throughout the years, BLT, families and the mentorship and recognition coordinator have worked to foster Bonner Love at the College of Charleston.
The College of Charleston’s Bonner story begins with students attending a conference. It continues to be a priority to offer students the opportunity to attend and present at various local and national conferences. Students have attended the following: • College of Charleston’s Fall Leadership Conference • College of Charleston’s Diversity Conference • University of South Carolina’s Student Leadership and Diversity Conference • Global Health and Innovation Conference • White Privilege Conference • Bonner Congress • Bonner Summer Leadership Institute • IMPACT Conference
“During the Summer Leadership Institute, I realized that I would not be satisfied pursuing my passion for social justice on the side. I decided that it was essential to my happiness that I work in a field where I can act as a change agent in my community.” – Isabel Johnston ’18
BONNER LEADER PROGRAM
SPECIAL THANKS Mr. and Mrs. Stephen R. Kerrigan Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Goldsmith Joseph J. Schott Foundation Robert C. and Louise S. Heffron Leadership Fund of Coastal Community Foundation Mr. Rick Throckmorton and Ms. Edith Howle Dr. and Mrs. Charles Kaiser Ms. Heather Crouch