IU School of Nursing faculty member honored with Indiana Governor's Award for Outstanding Service
Julie Bohannon, an adjunct faculty member for the Indiana University School of Nursing at IUPUI, received the 2011 Governor's Award in the service-learning category for her volunteer work with the IU School of Nursing and Girls Incorporated of Greater Indianapolis.
The IU School of Nursing and Girls Inc. formed a partnership in the summer of 2009 when Bohannon sought an organization that could undergraduate nursing students an opportunity to gain service-learning experience for their community health course. From fall 2009 to fall 2010, 39 nursing students volunteered 550 hours and co-facilitated 21 programs, serving more than 300 girls.
"We have gotten great volunteers from the Indiana University School of Nursing," said LaTasha Hudson, director of Programs at Girls Inc, of Greater Indianapolis, who nominated Bohannon for the award. "They [the student volunteers] can know they have made an impact on these girls and the community."
Bohannon said she has long made volunteerism a part of her life. She volunteered in high school and college and found ways to volunteer as a practicing nurse. Girls Inc. has been a primary focus for Bohannon since her time as a nurse near Fountain Square, where the local chapter was founded.
"I have always had a fondness in Girls Incorporated," Bohannon said. "I saw how it helped girls and built their self-esteem."
Bohannon and Hudson both believe students facilitating Girls Inc. programs earn more than just practicum hours. The students learn skills about working with large groups of children of diverse backgrounds and cultures, which often involves their project management skills, time management and problem solving.
"With Julie Bohannon's guidance, student nurses working with participants in Girls Inc. have designed activities to improve the girls' self esteem and promote healthy lifestyles," said Anne Belcher, associate professor and chair, Department of Environments for Health at the IU School of Nursing. "These experiences provide opportunities for student nurses to experience the world of their clients in the context of community settings."
In addition to inner beauty and self-esteem programs, student volunteers teach the girls conflict-resolution skills, often leaving time for the girls to talk openly talk and seek advice. The goal of the program is to encourage the girls to seek mentorship, which can encourage discussion and self-growth.
"I like when the girls get to 'check in' and share whatever they want about their lives," said Beth Bonham, who volunteered as part of her clinical experience last fall. "Girls Inc. programs allow the girls to feel valued and important, while encouraging them to treat others in the same way. They learn about making others feel good."
Bohannon received the award at the Governor's banquet Oct. 13.
The Indiana University School of Nursing is one of the largest nursing schools in the nation with programs ranging from the Bachelors in Nursing and eight tracks in the master's program to the Ph.D. and D.N.P. The school was recently ranked #9 for National Institutes of Health funding and U.S. News & World Report ranked the graduate programs 15th in the nation. For more information on the IU School of Nursing, please visit http://nursing.iupui.edu.
Girls Incorporated has been making a difference in girl's lives since 1864. Locally, three mothers from Fountain Square founded Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis in 1969 as an afterschool alternative. Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis now partners with local schools in the Greater Indianapolis community in order to bring the program to the girls.