Assistant Professor Leslie Richard’s Families in Poverty has inspired Tasha Galardi, a PhD student in Human Development and Family Studies, more than once. She was first motivated to consider the HDFS program as a graduate student after completing the course in 2009. Leslie served as her master’s thesis advisor when she did enroll in the program. Tasha’s since taught the class online and recently led a unique community service project with current students.
Prior to the spring term, Tasha presented Leslie with the idea of leading a group of students in a community service project at the all-female Oak Creek Youth Correctional Facility in Albany. Students in the class are required to complete a service project that involves 20 hours of engagement. Leslie was supportive and enthusiastic, and after receiving the green light Tasha worked with 10 students to supervise the project from planning to fruition.
“I wanted it to be completely collaborative. I didn’t want it to be OSU students teaching Oak Creek girls,” Tasha says. “I wanted it to be that they were all learning together and breaking down any barriers or differences and that they were really in a group experience.”
Tasha says she was hoping for the students and incarcerated girls – ages 13-21 – to see how alike they were as they got to know each other on an equal playing field. She says the group found they had many similarities and that a handful of the incarcerated young women are thinking about their futures, including college.