May 10, 2010
UI students collect ‘Provisions for Progress’ to help women transition
Victims and survivors of domestic violence face many challenges as they rebuild their new lives.
A group of University of Iowa students hopes to make that transition a smoother one by collecting essential items and money through a project they call “Provisions for Progress.”
The goal of the project was to collect everyday items that women might need, such as cleaning products, dishes and towels, as they leave the Iowa City Domestic Violence Intervention Project (DVIP). The items are being put into transition baskets that will help victims/survivors of domestic violence and their children get resettled in a new home after leaving an abusive situation.
The project evolved out of a semester-long service-learning project the students created for a class titled “Gender and Violence,” a course in the Department of Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies taught by Karen Heimer, a sociology professor in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
“This project is an important resource to women transitioning out of the domestic violence shelter. Many women have few resources for daily necessities when they leave the shelter, and the students’ work targets this need,” Heimer said. “This kind of service learning is key to my course because it encourages students to give back to the community and makes their classroom learning more meaningful. The students embraced this service learning requirement. They are quite an amazing group.”
The students worked with Laurie Haag, program developer with the UI Women’s Resource and Action Center (WRAC), to develop the project.
“This project integrates meaningful community service with classroom instruction and reflection, which in turn enriches the learning experience, teaches civic responsibility and strengthens our community,” Haag said. “At the same time, the students are helping out DVIP and the women and children who come through there in a very concrete way, especially given the budget cuts that have impacted social services in recent years. Many of the clients who use the shelter literally arrive there with only the clothes on their back, and this project seeks to ease their transition by providing them with some basic necessities when they leave the shelter."
The students -- Audrey Wiedemeier, Briana O’Neill, Chelsea Everhart, Kathryn Elleby, Eva Durcova, Jamie Budler and Haley Hellerwill -- will put the gift baskets together at 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 12, at WRAC, 130 N. Madison St. in Iowa City. They will then deliver them to the DVIP.
“Even in the Iowa City community, where there are resources available, there is an ongoing need to change the societal conditions that, to put it lightly, encourages the unequal treatment of women," Wiedemeier said. "Asking community members for their support seemed like a great way to raise awareness at the individual level.”
Donations of items and cash are still being accepted through Saturday, May 15. Items needed include bathroom items, such as shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, towels, soap, baby wipes, hand and body lotion and tissues. Other items needed include baby supplies, sheets, laundry detergent and first aid kit items, kitchen items such as sponges, paper towels, broom and dust pans, trash bags, dish clothes and all purpose cleaners. Donations can be dropped off at WRAC, 130 N. Madison St. in Iowa City.
For more information, call Wiedemeier at 515-451-4903 or Haag at 319-335-1486.
For more information on DVIP, visit http://www.dvipiowa.org/.
For more information on WRAC, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~wrac/.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500