SANFORD - Mallory Cobb has first-hand knowledge on how Central Carolina Community College's Promoting Active Learning and Service (PALS) program can have a positive effect on one's life.
This CCCC student chose to do her Service Learning portion of the program through the non-profit organization Lee County Industries Inc. in Sanford. That experience has led to a part-time position with the agency, whose mission is to help people with disabilities achieve their greatest possible independence and use its resources to enhance the entire community.
Service Learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates community service with instruction to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.
Cobb first volunteered at LCI as part of the Service Learning program. During that time, Cobb worked part-time at a restaurant while attending school full time. "I'd been looking for a new job, but I hadn't found it," she said. "Then I got the opportunity to do the Service Learning. And that was really fun."
"From day one, Mallory struck me as a dedicated student, but she was bombarded by the pressures that most college students deal with on a day-to-day basis," said Abby Hileman, an ACA Instructor and the Writing and Reading Center Coordinator at CCCC.
"Mallory approached me privately about finding a Service Learning opportunity that applied more to her wants and desires as a person and humanitarian. Her dedication to completing Service Learning while maintaining her own identity made this experience all the more enriching for her. "
After attending a job fair, Cobb found that LCI was looking for a vocational trainer, also known as job coach. She applied - and believes that her Service Learning opportunity helped her in getting the job coach position.
"Mallory's participation in the PALS program taught her that the services provided by CCCC can enrich her experiences as a student, as a citizen, and as a working professional in her local community," Hileman said. "I feel that she has connected to her community in a way that most people can only hope for, and Service Learning was the conduit for that very connection."
Shirley Rijkse, LCI's Director of Career Services, said of Cobb: "She is such a dynamo on our team. We love her. ... She's doing a wonderful job. And she's so energetic."
Patrick Kelly, the CCCC Coordinator of Student Outreach and Partnership and PALS Coordinator, also speaks highly of the Service Learning program. "Service Learning provides a unique way to engage our students in our community," Kelly said. "We want our students to see that learning and community service go hand in hand, and that learning no matter the location or task if always first."
Cobb spoke of her Service Learning experience: "In my situation, I got a really good job. I don't even think of it as a job. But I ended up with a great opportunity."
Cobb has taken to heart about being a part of the community. "Don't just simply exist. Thrive in the community and to make your community thrive, be a part of it. Be a productive part of it," she said.
The PALS program was established in 2012 to meet the diverse needs of the college's students, strengthen ties to the community, and to offer faculty and staff with more leadership opportunities.
"Service Learning is not only an opportunity for students to learn about themselves and their communities by volunteering their time, but it also has the distinct potential to create networking and employment opportunities both during and after college," Hileman said.
"Mallory's story is a shining example of what happens when a driven student fully utilizes the services and programs offered at CCCC. Our dedication to student success is matched by the determination and drive of our student population."
The PALS program is connected with the College Success Center, which provides an individualized experience for student learners based on their academic and career goals. Through collaboration with CCCC faculty and administration, success coaches focus their efforts on the first-year experience including pre-college and academic planning, extended orientation courses, and new student orientation. Through the use of technology and in-person meetings, success coaches provide short- and long-term support in the academic planning process. This results in the student's empowerment to make independent decisions. In doing so, the College Success Center consistently evaluates and adapts its practices to uphold the mission of the institution and needs of the students for maximum retention, persistence, and student success.
For more information on Service Learning, contact Patrick Kelly, PALS Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org and 919-718-7347.
Central Carolina Community College student Mallory Cobb turned her positive experience from the college's Service Learning program into a job with Lee County Industries. For more information on Service Learning, contact Patrick Kelly, PALS Coordinator, at email@example.com and 919-718-7347.