On Nov. 21, several Trocaire College administrators and staff members had a chance to share dinner and conversation with Dr. Bernard Strenecky, founder of the $100 Solution, as well as Eric Griswold, the organization’s CEO and Board chair.
Dr. Strenecky founded the $100 Solution in 2007, after pioneering the idea that $100 can make a sustainable impact when students and communities work together to solve civic issues. It helps teach high school and college students how to effectively conduct community development projects and thus improve the quality of life within that community.
The service learning organization’s mission is to teach students how to turn $100 “into a world of change by meeting community-determined needs.” Since its founding, more than 200 projects have been conducted in 15 countries by upward of 3,000 students.
“The $100 Solution uses a model which requires partnership, reciprocity, capacity building, sustainability and reflection,” the non-profit organization’s LinkedIn page reads. “Use of this model encourages global citizenship through civic and community engagement.”
Trocaire has a deep commitment to service learning, based in the example set by our founders, the Sisters of Mercy. Every student completes a component of service learning before graduating, continuing the Sisters’ work in “meeting the unmet need.” Service Learning Coordinator Pam Jablonicky said college leaders leapt at the chance to learn from the $100 Solution.
At the event, Dr. Strenecky and Eric Griswold discussed their organization from its inception to present-day initiatives and reviewed best practices based on experiences. The group also discussed the synergetic philosophies of service between the $100 Solution and Trocaire; how students can learn leadership and other essential life skills through meaningful service learning experiences; the importance of strong relationships with community partners to forge sustainable service initiatives; and the importance of always asking community partners: “What can we do to enhance your quality of life?”
“It was a productive and inspiring meeting,” Jablonicky said. “We are so grateful for Dr. Strenecky and Eric for visiting and sharing their valuable perspectives on sustainable service learning.”
Representing Trocaire at the event, in addition to Jablonicky, were Trocaire President Dr. Bassam Deeb; Senior Vice President Dr. Richard Linn; Dr. Catherine M. Griswold and John Anderson, dean and associate dean, respectively, of the Catherine McAuley School of Nursing; Dean for Student Success Tony Funigiello; Medical Assisting Program Director Heather Thompson; Director of Mission, Ministry and Service Robert Shearn; and Cynthia LoCastro, Nursing clinical coordinator.