HPU LifeLines is a High Point University Service Learning course dedicated to the healing power of poetry. This course builds intergenerational bonds between local elders and High Point University students and generates ongoing health benefits that foster an empathic connection between the community and our school.
Service Learning gives students the opportunity to put classroom knowledge into practice through community service experiences. With 21 courses in 11 majors and a total of over 325 students, the High Point University Service Learning Program continues to grow. The HPU LifeLines Service Learning course alone generates over 1,000 hours of service in the local assisted living community each academic year.
But Service Learning has benefits beyond the classroom and the community. It also opens doors. Service Learning Liaison and HPU LifeLines facilitator Tayla Curran says, “Through this class I have not only had the opportunity to put theory into practice, but also carry out undergraduate research that I presented at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research. This class has changed the way I want to practice medicine in the future, and I know I am a stronger and more well-rounded medical school applicant because of it.”
Tayla also sees the impact of the HPU LifeLines program on our community partners. “I know that this partnership is making a difference. I can see it on the patrons’ faces. They light up each week when they see us enter the facility ready to run a poetry workshop. For one of our class assignments we had to interview an individual and document their story. I was able to gain a completely new perspective on aging and life. It was something I never would have been able to do through classroom experience alone.”
In 2015, Tayla received a grant to produce an interactive poetry anthology for our Pennybyrn partners suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia. Click here to see the fruits of her labor. Poetry: Art, Medicine or Service?
After logging hundreds of hours of service and publishing creative and scholarly work born out of her service experiences, Tayla Curran’s contributions to the community were honored with the presentation of the HPU Service Learning Student of the Year award in 2015. Later that same year, she was accepted into Columbia University’s Program in Narrative Medicine, and she plans on entering medical school after completing this groundbreaking masters degree program. Her journey began with HPU Lifelines.