Jeanette Stokes: 2019 Community Partner Alden Award Winner

Tuesday, May 21, 2019
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From Jeanette's nominator, Professor Jehanne Gheith:

"Jeanette has been mentoring service-learning students from my courses since my very first Service Learning class about ten years ago. For the last three and a half years, she has accepted at least two students from my Medical Ethics and End of Life Care courses each semester and has mentored them so well that they continue to stay in touch with her long after the placement has ended.

Jeanette Stokes founded RCWMS 41 years ago. Students benefit greatly from learning about a non-profit that has been successful for so long. It is not always easy to find things  for students to do that will fit the parameters of my course, but Jeanette always manages to do this. She has sponsored students to go to a Home Funerals conference; she has twice sponsored student-facilitated community showings of the film, “How to Die in Oregon”; and last semester she helped students put on a poetry and art workshop for community members on issues related to death and dying.  Several times, too, students have worked with me in leading a workshop on aging for RCWMS. These experiences are always rich for both students and community members: it is important for the generations to come together around issues of aging and dying and Jeanette not only recognizes this, she creatively facilitates it. Jeanette also helps students to reflect on their service learning experiences. This is important, as considering issues  around aging, death and dying –especially when you are 20-ish--can be difficult. Jeanette is deeply engaged with the students.

Jeanette is a genius at building relationships and she has done this with my students over the years. She does it through bringing them leftovers, showing them Durham, and being curious about them and their interests—and in facilitating their best work. Because of the depth of the relationships, they reflect more deeply. 

Each semester, I rely on students being placed with RCWMS. I know they will learn a great deal and have a wonderful experience. Jeanette Stokes has given so  much to students in my Service Learning courses for many, many years. I would love to see Jeanette’s long and wonderful collaboration with the Service Learning Program be recognized with an Alden Award."

-Jehanne Gheith, Associate Professor, Slavic and Eurasian Studies and the Program in Education, MSW, LCSW, PhD