WJU Book Club Serves Community
WHEELING — Wheeling Jesuit’s Book Club has become a learning opportunity for WJU students and those they serve at the Ronald C. Mulholland Juvenile Center.
The club started as a way for the young people of the Juvenile Center to receive books to read, but has grown into so much more. For the last three semesters, Dr. Jane Neuenschwander, associate professor of Education and the student teachers in WJU’s education program, travel to the Juvenile Center every Wednesday to teach the students at the center.
Because the young people at the Juvenile Center would have the books WJU’s education program provided finished before Neuenschwander and the student teachers arrived, the group from Wheeling Jesuit has begun to incorporate learning activities into their weekly visits.
The weekly visit has become educational for both Neuenschwander’s students and those at the Center,, she said.
“The students look forward to our visit, but they also provide our student-teachers the opportunity to learn to teach. The student teachers are gaining more than they give, but probably don’t realize it. Some of my students feel a personal mission to keep going back and push the students to work harder,” said Neuenschwander.
The young people at the learning center are receiving books to read from Neuenschwander, while the Wheeling Jesuit student teachers have started using activities and magazines to teach current events, while engaging the students in what’s happening in the world on a daily basis.
She said her student teachers are using activities that are entertaining, and make the students at the center think. In doing this, Neuenschwander said, the students are learning while at the same time having fun. Some of these activities include Sudoku and creating family crests. The activities, she added, give the students a break from everyday schooling at the Juvenile Center and allow them to learn while at the same time be creative.
Marc Gittings, a senior English Literature and Professional Education major at WJU, has been participating in the Book Club for two years. “I want to develop my professional skills so that I can effectively teach students in the future. My other goal each week, is to work with the students that I encounter and help them consider making better decisions in their lives,” said Gittings.
Neuenschwander and the WJU students are able to bring the young people at the center a bit of the outside world. The students seem to look forward to having the company, she added. Neuenschwander and the student teachers are working to make a positive impact on all of the lives that they encounter at the center. This could be as simple as getting them a book they requested, to helping one of the students get through a tough time, she added.
Gittings said, “Participating at the Center helps the Wheeling Jesuit University students that participate to become men and women for others. By serving the Wheeling community, Wheeling Jesuit University students are helping those individuals that otherwise may be overlooked by society to develop valuable skills.”