Americorps VISTA position with the Bonner Center

The Bonner Center for Community Service and Learning at Guilford College is currently accepting applications for an Americorps VISTA position.

The VISTA will work to improve academic achievement among African Youth in partnership with African Services Coalition through innovative programming and collaboration with other community partners.

For information on how to apply, please go to this link:


First years take over Washington DC during Spring Break

First year Bonner Scholars spent their Spring break in the nation’s capital.

We spent the week visiting various advocate groups, Bonner alums and our senator, Kay Hagan.

On Sunday, Noelle and Jon took the Homelessness Challenge. Under the supervision of folks connected to the National Coalition for the Homeless they lived as homeless residents of Washington DC. Look for an in depth  video reflection from them in this blog later. Unlike Greensboro, homelessness is in your face here.

A grassy median, a cardboard box, or  a doorway that shields the cold wind, Washington’s homeless population continues to grow while resources and empathy shrink.

We visited Bonner Alum Kristi Matthews Garrett, grassroots organizer for the Legal Clinic for the Homeless. The core of the Legal Clinic’s work, through our Legal Assistance Project, is the representation of individual low- and no-income clients through a network of over 200 volunteer attorneys and legal assistants. The Legal Clinic also works on such wide-ranging issues as the criminalization of homelessness, budget advocacy, and the social service safety net.

Kristi spoke with the first years about her work and how Bonner and Guilford College prepared her to take on the tremendous challenge being an advocate for the homeless in DC.

first years talk advocacy with Boner alum Kristi Garrett

Later in the week she led the group through exercises that helped them consider ways to advocate once they returned to Guilford. We lunched at the popular, Busboys and Poets, a restaurant and bookstore that focuses on promoting social change and action.

We also met with Guilford and Project Community alum, Christy Atlee. Christie works with Higher Achievement as the Volunteer Outreach Coordinator in the DC Metro area. Higher Achievement closes the opportunity gap during the pivotal middle school years. By leveraging the power of communities, Higher Achievement’s proven model provides a rigorous year-round learning environment, caring role models, and a culture of high expectations, resulting in college-bound scholars with the character, confidence, and skills to succeed. We were thoroughly impressed with the young people we met during our visit to one of the nightly tutor/mentor sessions. The students had a great thirst for knowledge, the mentors were engaged and excited to work with these amazing kids. Our students were especially inspired by the group meeting at the end of the night. Students shared what they learned that night in their groups. Some discussed informal vs formal education while others learn about artist Jackson Pollock and created Pollock style paintings. To end the night students and mentor gave shout out to each other. It was great to see the students supporting each other.

We were cordially invited by President Obama and the First Lady to tour visit the White House. Though the Obamas were not able to meet with us, we enjoyed our visit and learned that Amburee has an affinity for men with assault rifles.   

Our visit to the offices of the National Coalition for the Homeless was a moving experience for all of us. The National Coalition for the Homeless is a national network of people who are currently experiencing or who have experienced homelessness, activists and advocates, community-based and faith-based service providers, and others committed to a single mission: To prevent and end homelessness while ensuring the immediate needs of those experiencing homelessness are met and their civil rights protected.

NCH envisions a world where everyone has a safe, decent, affordable and accessible home. They are committed to creating the systemic and attitudinal changes necessary to prevent and end homelessness. They take as their first principle of practice that people who are currently experiencing homelessness or have formerly experienced homelessness must be actively involved in all of our work. Their programs are centered around public education, policy advocacy, and grassroots organizing, and are focused on the issues of housing justice, economic justice, health care justice, and civil rights.

Our long time friend and Executive Director Michael Stoops explained to us what the coalition does as advocates for the homeless, then we heard from three formerly homeless people from NCH’s speaker’s bureau. Too many times we allow ourselves to judge people based on stereotypes, the purpose of the speaker’s bureau is to put a face on homelessness and dispel the many myths and misconceptions about the homeless. The speaker’s stories are inspiring and touching. Our group left with a renewed energy to work on the issues of homelessness in Greensboro.

   For us, a visit to DC is not complete without a trip to the National museum of the American Indian. We met with Emil Her Many Horses, he is a board member for Running Strong (We’ll talk more about them later) and is the curator for the exhibit about the Horse Culture of the Plains Indians. Given Bonner’s history with the Crow tribe in Montana, we found this exhibit very interesting and the art work was phenomenal. It was an honor to have Mr. Her Many Horses lead us on a special tour of the exhibit and hear details that most visitors will not hear. Later in the week we visited with Bonner alum Marya Millard at the offices of Running Strong. Running Strong is led by an American Indian Board of Directors that strives to build the capacity of communities, grassroots Indian organizations, families, and individuals to leverage their strengths and solve problems.
Running Strong’s mission is to help American Indian people meet their immediate survival needs – food, water, and shelter – while implementing and supporting programs designed to create opportunities for self-sufficiency and self-esteem.

What’s a visit to DC without a little site seeing. Some of us checked out the new MLK memorial, others got tatoos or toured Georgetown and some of us were just silly. Overall, it was a great trip with great people. Bonner Love

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Guilford College named to 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

Guilford College Honored for Community Service


642 Schools Named to Honor Roll


Washington, D.C. – The Corporation for National and Community Service and the U.S. Department of Education today honored the nation’s leading colleges and universities, students, and faculty members, and staff for their commitment to bettering their communities through community service and service learning.

Guilford College was admitted to the Honor Roll for its work in Education, Youth development, Hunger, Homelessness and the

immigrant/refugee community.

“Through service, these institutions are creating the next generation of leaders by challenging students to tackle tough issues and create positive impacts in the community,” said Robert Velasco, Acting CEO of CNCS. “We applaud the Honor Roll schools, their faculty and students for their commitment to make service a priority in and out of the classroom. Together, service and learning increase civic engagement while fostering social innovation among students, empowering them to solve challenges within their communities.”

“Preparing students to participate in our democracy and providing them with opportunities to take on local and global issues in their course work are as central to the mission of education as boosting college completion and closing the achievement gap,” said Eduardo Ochoa, the U.S. Department of Education’s assistant secretary for postsecondary education.  “The Honor Roll schools should be proud of their work to elevate the role of service-learning on their campuses.   Galvanizing their students to become involved in projects that address pressing concerns and enrich their academic experience has a lasting impact – both in the communities in which they work and on their own sense of purpose as citizens of the world. I hope we’ll see more and more colleges and universities following their lead.”

The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities. Inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, the initiative celebrates the transformative power and volunteer spirit that exists within the higher education community.

The Bonner Center at Guilford College has cultivated several community partnerships in Greensboro. Through these partnerships, Guilford students perform over 50,000 hours of service each year Each partnership operates with a Guilford student who serves as the Project Coordinator.  The Project Coordinator recruits and supports volunteers and organizes training and reflection opportunities appropriate to each project.  Transportation is provided to each of these sites through carpooling or use of the college van. Students have the opportunity to make positive contributions to the wider community and at the same time enjoy a meaningful volunteer experience with other Guilford College students.

Guilford College is located in Greensboro NC, a vibrant multicultural city. There are over 50,000 immigrants and refugees who call Greensboro home and there are over 90 languages spoken in the public schools. By interacting with people from different cultural backgrounds and gaining sensitivity to their ways of life, Guilford College students deepen their academic investigation of western and other traditions. In the process, students are challenged to envision better societies as well as work collectively with others toward mutual benefit. The Guilford College approach strives for dynamic partnerships among all stakeholders involved, including students, non profits agencies, businesses and the community residents. Through these partnerships Guilford College hopes to build relationships of interdependency instead of dependency. Guilford students and the community help each other with immediate needs; encourage one another to value their cultural heritage instead of giving it up, as they build solidarity with each other.

James Shields, Director of the Bonner Center for Community Service and Learning sums up the Guilford College community service experience. “Guilford College students have logged thousands of hours in the immigrant/refugee community, but what’s most important are the thousands of smiles and hugs, the self confidence and pride in a child’s eyes when they earn a good grade and the sense of accomplishment as an adult immigrant carries on a conversation in English. We treasure these moments and look to strengthen our ties with Greensboro’s immigrant community for years to come.”

Nikki Henderson from People’s Grocery visits Guilford

February 27th was Occupy the Food System day and the Bonner Center and Guilford’s Slow Food group sponsored Nikki Henderson, Executive Director of West Oakland’s People’s Grocery. People’s Grocery is a health and wealth organization – their mission is to improve the health and economy of West Oakland through the local food system. They pursue positive community change and address social determinants of health through a food lens. They also work to ensure that community self-determination plays a large part in the revitalization of low-income neighborhoods.

As local interest in food justice grows, this was a wonderful opportunity for community members to hear from someone deeply involved in the work of food justice and closely connected to leaders such as Van Jones and Majora Carter.

Nikki began her work in social justice through the foster care system in Southern California, having been raised with seven older foster brothers. Through mentoring, tutoring, and directing Foster Youth Empowerment Workshops, she developed her passion for youth leadership development among communities of color. She later shifted into sustainability, developing course curriculum for the University of California system and advocating across the state for environmental justice and political ecology.

She has worked closely with Van Jones and Phaedra Ellis Lamkins at Green for All, fighting for a green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty. She was also a part of Slow Food USA in Brooklyn, NY where President Josh Viertel came to regard her as an “extraordinary leader with a vision for how food and urban farming can be tools of empowerment”. In 2009, Nikki co-founded Live Real, a national collaborative of food movement organizations committed to strengthening and expanding the youth food movement in the United States.

Nikki toured Greensboro viewing the statue of the Greensboro Four at A&T, the site of the 1979 Klan/Nazi shootings and the Edible Schoolyard at the Children’s museum. She also met with the Bonner Center’s Community Kitchen Project and with students involved in a Food Justice project by Principled Problem Solving. Nikki was very impressed by her tour of the Guilford College community garden and production farm

Over 50 Guilford College and Greensboro community members attended her evening talk and left deeply inspired.

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Many Faces of Blackness

Guilford College’s 2012 Black History Month theme, “Many Faces of Blackness,” explores the multi-dimensions of Black history, culture, and present realities.


Feb. 2 – “Many Faces of Blackness,” Africana CHANGE Students, 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m., King Hall 128E

Feb. 2 – “Greensboro Racial Justice Activism,” a teach-in by staff from the Beloved Community Center (CAB), 6-8 p.m., King Hall 126,

Feb. 4 – “Generations,” annual Black History poetry-music-theatre performance, by Josephus Thompson III (BUS), 8-10 p.m., Dana Auditorium.

Feb. 8 – Improvisation: Listen to Jazz & Create a Masterpiece, with Holly Wilson, Multicultural Education Department director, 1-2 p.m., King Hall 128E.

Feb. 8 – Me University: The Glass Ceiling – Restrictions Placed on Women in the Workforce (BUS), 7:30-9 p.m., King Hall 128E.

Feb. 8 – Poetry Slam at Winston Salem State University. RSVP to

Feb. 9 –Element Poetry Slam, 7-9 p.m., Community Center.

Feb. 15 – Africana Brown Bag Discussion with philosophy Professor Vance Ricks, 2-3 p.m., Dining Hall Atrium.

Feb. 15 – Get on the BUS movie showing, King Hall 128E (BUS), Time TBA.

Feb. 16 – “Financial Empowerment II: How I Met My Purpose,” by Odell Bizell, 6-7:30 p.m., King Hall 128E.

Feb. 16 – Def Jam Poetry at Guilford – Poetry workshop and open mic night with Bruce George, co-founder of Def Jam. Poetry. Time TBA (CAB).

Feb. 17 – Civil Rights Presentation & Dialogue, by Yvette Bailey, 6-7:30pm, Hendricks Hall

Feb.  20– Langston Hughes Presentation & Dialogue, by Yvette Bailey, 6-7:30pm, Hendricks Hall

Feb. 22 – Get On the Bus, African American Tour of Greensboro and the International Civil Rights Museum, 1-5 p.m. (BUS), RSVP to, only 45 seats available.

Feb. 22 – Hip Hop Dance Session with Chelii Broussard (BUS), 8-9:30 p.m., Ragan Brown Dance Studio.

Feb. 23 – Voter Registration Day, 1-4 p.m., Founders Hall Lobby.

Feb 29 – “Celebrations & Misconceptions of Blackness” Interactive Presentation,” by Jada Drew, Africana Community coordinator, 5-7 p.m., King Hall 128E.

Come check out these events throughout this month!


Queen Quet

Queen Quet (Marquetta L. Goodwine) Chieftess and Head of State of the Gullah Geechee Nation is visiting Guilford College this week to lead an educational series called Journey into Blackness that discusses the Gullah Geechee experience, with the troupe, “De Gullah Cunneckshun.” For the last two years,Guilford College first year Bonner Scholars have spent a week in the Low Country of South Carolina learning about the history of the Gulllah/Geechee and how they continue to preserve their rich culture. Queen Quet and family has been a gracious hosts and teachers on our two visits.

We are pleased and honored to have her on our campus for the week, please support these events.

Events are: Tuesday, 6-8 p.m., documentary “Uprooted,” with viewing, discussion, Q&A, and book/CD signing, Bryan Auditorium; Wednesday, 7-9 p.m., histo-musical lecture, Bryan Auditorium; Thursday, 5-6:30 p.m.,conversation with Queen Quet, Caldcleugh Multicultural Arts Center; and Friday, 3-6 p.m., closing celebration, Bryan Auditorium.

Goodwine, who is the founder of the Gullah Geechee SeaIsland Coalition, is sponsored by Africana Community and the Bonner Center. Call Jada Drew at 316-2473 for more information. The Gullah Geechee are African Americans who live in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina and Georgia,which includes both the coastal plain and the Sea Islands.

CSI 2011

The Bonner Center and Project Community held its Community Service Institute on Saturday September 24th. The CSI is a way for us to dig deeper into the issues connected to our service and the community. Between 50 -60 students, faculty and staff participated in lively, informative and inspiring discussions, workshops and panels.

Here’s what you missed:

  • Poverty in America: Why Can’t We Pull Ourselves Up By the Boot Straps?

             Sarah Bentley

  • A Silenced Reality: Domestic Violence in the lives of Undocumented Citizens)

           Megan Snider

  • Fighting Ableism: An Intro to Creating Collective Access

          John St. Louis

  • What are you Buying into: Culture of Consumerism & Capitalism

         Alyzza May and Cherrell Brown

Keynote Speaker Amy Lytle ‘96

  • Black Biblical Interpretation, Sexual Oppression, Sexuality and HIV/AIDS

         Beatrice Franklin

  • You are What you Eat: Food Insecurity & Health Issues)

         Kat Saladi, Tinece Holman, Chesapeake First

  • Getting messy with Art Education!

        Ashley Escabedo

  • Panel Discussion: Prison to School pipeline: Is it real?

The disturbing phenomenon called the school-to-prison pipelineis the collection of education and public safety policies and practices

that push our nation’s schoolchildren out of the classroom and into the streets, the

juvenile justice system, or the criminal justice system.

Barabara Lawrence, Katie Yow ’08, Sherry Giles, and Jay Evans ‘06

Facilitator:  James Shields

  • Closing Thoughts:
  • Justin Bradley- Unity Hoops

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