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Honors Communication Students Participate in Social Cause Presentations


Saint Xavier University (SXU) Honors Communication students recently participated in a Social Cause Presentation on local nonprofits, done in lieu of the traditional persuasive speech in an introductory communication course. For the assignment, students thought strategically about how to develop and deliver a persuasive message for a specific audience and purpose. The students addressed the cause or issue the nonprofit was founded around and explained how the audience can support their efforts.

"I wanted to introduce them to organizations they've probably never heard of that are doing good work in their own backyards. Some of the nonprofits students spoke about this semester include Above & Beyond Family Recovery Center, Advocates for Adolescent Mothers, Arise Chicago, Community Health Equity, Girl Forward, H.O.M.E. La Casa Norte, Red Door Animal Shelter and RFK Camp," said Cynthia Grobmeier, communication professor. "In their first round of speeches, this cohort of Honors students have bravely and openly talked about experiences that have touched them in profound ways, as well as issues that are important to not only them, but our greater society."

The organizations work to address issues including workers' rights and homelessness, educating and empowering young immigrant, migrant and refugee women, providing services so the elderly can remain in their own homes and inequities in health care in underserved Chicago communities.

Two of the students in the course, JaKayla and JaKyla Blockman, twin nursing majors, gave a special presentation, as they run their own nonprofit organization with Alderman David Moore: Moore for Youth. When the Blockmans were 12, they wanted to help other children who didn't have the same opportunities as those in other communities. They began to volunteer with Alderman David Moore and then joined his office as interns at the age of 16. They quickly decided they wanted to do more for the youth of the 17th Ward, who were frequently exposed to a cycle of violence and drugs, and Moore for Youth was born.

JaKyla serves as president and JaKayla serves as vice president of Moore for Youth. Their goal is to provide opportunities for the youth to share their voice and actively participate in decision-making for community improvement. They host activities, workshops and events, which the two say bring the youth positivity and hope. Moore for Youth has grown heavily and has impacted the lives of the youth in multiple communities.

"We plan to keep growing and hold many unique events, like our upcoming Youth Empowerment Galore or coat drive, because just like our slogan, 'the moore of us there are, the moore powerful we become.' We want to ensure the future stays bright and positive for our youth," said the Blockmans.

After students finished their presentations, they created a one-minute video to serve as an online appeal for their organization. Both assignments served to help students understand the importance of strategically developing a persuasive message for a specific audience and both reinforced SXU's Mercy mission of service.

Grobmeier is grateful for the opportunity to expose her students to the amazing work nonprofits are doing in their own communities and looks forward to continuing this project in future courses.