Community Action Project at Iglesia Emanuel

Joan & Margaret

In October 2022, Duke Service-Learning sponsored a Community Action Project as part of the 2022-2023 series, Beyond the Discourse:  Words Become Action.  Students from Dr. Joan Clifford’s Spanish 306 (Health, Culture, and the Latino Community) service-learning course bagged rice and beans for community partner Iglesia Emanuel, an organization offering a food pantry and tutoring center targeting the Spanish-speaking community.  They were joined by others from the service-learning network, as well as Margaret and Miguel Rubiera, the leadership team at Iglesia Emanuel.  Rice and beans were donated to the project through Duke Service-Learning and the Duke Office of Durham and Community Affairs.

The Leadership at Iglesia Emanuel

Margaret and Miguel Rubiera are the leadership team behind community service at Iglesia Presbiteriana Emanuel, a church serving the Spanish-speaking community. After a career in the corporate world, Miguel moved on to become the Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity. The Rubieras have extensive experience in non-profit work, including work with Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, Book Harvest, and several others. Currently, they direct their leadership skills towards the K-12 tutoring program and the community food pantry at Iglesia Emanuel. They work as a team to source food, write grants, fundraise, recruit and organize volunteers, and direct both the food pantry and the tutoring program. The Rubieras have worked with a number of Duke Service-Learning faculty in Public Policy (Tony Brown, Andrew Nurkin) and Romance Studies (Joan Clifford, Joan Munné, Ana Fernandez, Bethzaida Fernandez, Stephanie Contreras), as well as Root Causes, a Duke student organization fighting food insecurity.

Authentic Leadership

Service-Learning at Iglesia Emanuel

Students in Professor Andrew Nurkin's PUBPOL 298 (Authentic Leadership in Private, Public, and Not-for-Profit Organizations) partnered with Iglesia Emanuel in spring 2022 to provide services for the food pantry. One student team including Chris Brown, Sam Dale, Zoë Macomber, and Olivia Tighe created an Asset Map, outlining the surrounding institutions, associations, and other resources that might be assets to Iglesia Emanuel. In addition to the asset map, the student group volunteered with the food pantry, learning leadership skills through the Rubieras, and even continuing to volunteer after the semester ended. Zoë commented: "We’ve also built strong friendships amongst our team, really driving home that service-learning is about relationships, relationships, relationships!

Students in SPANISH 307S (Issues of Education and Immigration) with Professor Stephanie Contreras, tutored K-12 Spanish-speaking students as part of their service-learning course in spring 2022. The experience allowed SPANISH 307 students many opportunities to practice their Spanish language skills in an authentic context. They also created a video for community partner Iglesia Emanuel, to recruit tutors for their program. The project was presented at the Community-Engaged Scholarship Symposium hosted by Duke Civic Engagement in Durham and Community Affairs.