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A panel consisting of two Lafayette students, a professor, and several people working in the Easton community will present a workshop entitled “Mothering Single Mothers: Student and Community Activists in Partnership” at the National Women’s Studies Association Conference June 15-18 in Oakland, Calif.

The workshop stems from challenges faced while implementing community service programs initiated by Deborah Byrd, associate professor of English and women’s studies, and students enrolled in her Women’s Studies course “Single Motherhood in the Contemporary U.S.: Myths and Realities” last fall.

Panelists will provide an overview of programs they’ve designed including arranging a series of college prep classes; a “Mommy and Me” pool program; arts and crafts activities that facilitate the discussion of parenting skills; a resource manual for single mothers; programs on domestic violence, breast feeding, and healthy nutrition; as well as the collection and distribution of high chairs, strollers, car seats, children’s clothing, books, and toys. They will also discuss ongoing efforts to write a grant that will sustain this multifaceted initiative.

Attending the conference with Byrd will be Miranda Dolan ’07 (Pitman, N.J.), a double major in women’s studies and anthropology & sociology; Rachel Gallagher’07 (Allentown, Pa.), an independently designed major in “Equality and Justice;” Paula Panovec, director of Resident Services, Third Street Alliance for Women & Children; and Kay Stocker, R.N., Community Care Centers Family Development Research Program.

“We hope those attending the workshop not only will benefit from our account of this collaborative venture, but also will share their own experiences of promoting student activism and bridging town-gown’ divides,” says Byrd.

The group will focus on the following issues:

  • Undergraduate student support of community activists and overcoming obstacles encountered in collaborative efforts to address issues of institutionalized injustice.
  • Getting young women who have never been mothers to better relate to pregnant and parenting teens.
  • Relating young women of financially stable backgrounds with the residents of a shelter for homeless women.
  • Programs allowing young mothers enrolled in high school and poor mothers ranging in age from 20-45 to learn from one another.
  • Establishing partnership between a small, private, college and community service organizations that have no history of working together.

“There is no grand solution, but the best thing anyone can do is help their immediate community and exchange ideas with people outside your local periphery,” states Gallagher. “That is exactly what we are prepared to do and I think this conference will prove to be a great opportunity for strengthening the programs we have created for Easton single mothers.”

Gallagher is a member of the varsity swimming team, the Lafayette Dancers, College Democrats, and Amnesty International. She also serves as a writing associate.

Dolan is the coordinator of the Teen Moms program at Landis Community Outreach Center. This summer she will be the director of the Firth Youth Center service program for Kids in the Community Camp during the Pre-Orientation Service Program. She will also participate in a women’s studies internship working with the Family Development Research Program. In addition, Dolan is a member of the Americorp Scholars Program and Pi Beta Phi sorority.

Categorized in: Academic News