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K-State Today

May 8, 2014



Students in the Leadership in Practice course empower the Manhattan community, area with the Facing Project

By Chelsea Gerber

The Facing Project was founded by Kelsey Timmerman and J.R. Jamison as an organization that connects people through stories to strengthen communities. A platform, tools and inspiration are provided by The Facing Project so that communities can share their stories. The goal of sharing these stories is to increase community conversation about key issues.

"The Facing Project brings leadership theory to life through service-learning in a way that students can interact and learn in a real community setting," Kniffin says.

The Manhattan community, area and Kansas State University have teamed up with The Facing Project to tackle the issue of hunger in the area. This spring the students in the Leadership in Practice course — taught by instructors Lori Kniffin and Marcia Hornung — will lead the initiative "Facing Hunger" by incorporating it into their course work.

Students in the Leadership in Practice class will be pairing with Harvesters, the Flint Hills Breadbasket and the Manhattan and area school districts to connect local citizens to the issue of hunger.

"Everybody Counts" was a local event coordinated by First United Methodist Church of Manhattan on Poyntz Avenue that Leadership in Practice students participated in this year. Together with HandsOn Kansas State and Harvesters, the students were able to be part of an event to provide food to individuals in the community in need and understand local demographics related to food security and homelessness among other key topics.

Autumn Snesrud, junior in secondary education, says, "I believe the most important lesson I have learned is that there are good and hardworking people in our community who still struggle to feed themselves and their families. I now realize how important it is that the whole community is able to read the stories about these people, so they also can have a better understanding of what hunger looks like in our community."

By practicing adaptive leadership skills learned in the classroom throughout the semester, students will reflect on these connections and the issue of hunger by writing about community members. At the end of the semester the students will publish a book of all of the stories. Information about the book and the public event for dialogue is forthcoming. For more questions about the Facing Project: Facing Hunger in Manhattan, please contact Lori Kniffin.

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