“This was an amazing learning experience. To be able to come together in this way as a College, with community partners, and contribute to projects across the province, is something I’m very proud of. Our students have gained an unforgettable experience through this funding initiative.” ~ Leif Helmer, NSCC faculty lead
Difference Dollars for Service Learning was supported with a $50,000 investment though the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education.
Children from the Nova Scotia College of Early Childhood Educators, Leeds Street Child Care Centre, participate in a Dental Assisting event for toddlers and pre-schoolers
Clad in chest waders, their life jackets and waterproof gloves, Emma-Leigh Dondale and her classmates prepare to wade into the frigid lakes and wetlands monitored by the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute
The second year Natural Resources Environmental Technology students from Lunenburg Campus are installing floating platforms they have built to protect loon nests from predators and spring floods.
Emma-Leigh's is just one of 27 projects supported though Difference Dollars for Service Learning—a $50,000 investment fund enabling students to strengthen their communities while gaining hands-on experience.
“Our program is very much been rooted in doing—hands-on- and in-the-field-learning,” says Emma-Leigh. “Through Difference Dollars, we’ve been able to take that much further. With this project, we’re making a real impact for this iconic species, helping young loons survive and reversing population decline.”
As a celebration of NSCC’s decades-long commitment to combining classroom learning with service to the community, students answered a call to submit project ideas that aligned with themes featured in the One NS Playbook: We Choose Now. Eligible projects received investments ranging from $500 to $2,500. The 27 projects were announced during an event at Waterfront Campus in March.
“Difference Dollars is a unique service learning opportunity that allows us to put theory to action,” says Blair Lipsett, Academic Chair for Trades & Technology for Lunenburg Campus. “Our students not only had the chance to gain new skills and practice what they’ve been taught, they put those skills to work by designing a project, working with community partners, meeting deadlines, staying on budget, and being accountable for a job-well-done.”
Projects supported through Difference Dollars range from hosting an anti-bullying learning series and measuring erosion at the Joggins Fossil Cliffs to erecting a tipi using the two-eyed seeing method and preparing meals for a homeless shelter.
Joelle Rowlings, director of the Nova Scotia College of Early Childhood Educators Leeds Street Child Care Centre says that an early-childhood-themed dental event hosted by students in the Dental Assisting program at Institute of Technology Campus gave her the opportunity to create a better dental future for the children in her care.
“The children were all so excited to learn something new and share with their parents at the end of the day,” says Joelle. “Each child was sent home with a little bag with all the tools they needed to practice what they’d learned, and they were all so proud to show off their new skills. The Dental Assisting students were just so wonderful and patient too.”