The Bonner Center strives to have deep, reciprocal relationships with its community partners that provide a variety of opportunities for volunteers at all levels. An ideal relationship will have a small group of Carson-Newman students simultaneously serving a site with different levels of responsibility. We believe in supporting our C-N students with helping to increase the capacity of the organizations they partner with. Therefore, we encourage organizations to partner with our students over a consistent length of time and develop opportunities for students to increase their responsibilities within organizations during their time.
Well-developed community partnerships are essential for creating change within our local communities, nation, and world. Bonner Center students are committed to serving together with community partners in long-term service positions. We strive for these relationships to be intentional and reciprocal. Our program develops a long term approach, working with key partners year after year. This dedication to our partners promotes more significant change, resource development, and capacity building in our communities, while encouraging personal and professional growth for each student. Organizations should provide students with clear expectations including job descriptions, an orientation to the agency, and a schedule of service hours.
Organizations are encouraged to work with students to correct problem behaviors or failures to meet expectations. While many students have had unusual opportunities and experiences for persons of their age, it is important to keep in mind that many have had little experience in a professional work setting. They may not know what is expected unless it is spelled out. Some students are eager for guidance and support but may hesitate to ask directly because they do not want to take up their supervisor’s time or they may feel insecure. Because we truly consider our community partners as co-educators we seek those organizations and agencies whom take student development seriously and are willing to invest the time and effort needed to ensure that students learn as much as they serve at your organization.
Check out our Community Partners Frequently Asked Questions document to learn more about the process of partnering with the Bonner Center at Carson-Newman.