The Norman Transcript


February 3, 2013

Loveworks reaching students



Students participating in Loveworks spend time in small groups doing hands-on activities and there is also time allotted for academic tutoring and lessons on leadership and empowerment.

A concept that resonated with Willoughby was the metaphor of the iceberg, encouraging students to reveal those elements of their character which they typically withhold, and devote all their talents to accomplishing goals.

Willoughby incorporated this lesson with the encouragement of her mentors to coordinate a program-wide production, in which more than 100 students showcased creative talents such as video production and acting in a perfomance.

“I absolutely love this place,” Willoughby said. “Coming here is a great time to for me to put whatever is bothering me aside, just let it flow and be in a place that’s positive and uplifting.”

In addition to daily encouragement, Loveworks is also a place where students like Beth Willoughby, who has expressed a desire to one day open a restaurant, can receive mentorship from real-world restaurant owners like Interurban co-founder/owner Rusty Loeffler.

“My original desire to volunteer really had nothing to do with my background, it was to put something back in the community and help the kids, that’s where the future is, in younger generations,” Loeffler said.

As the program progressed, Loeffler’s culinary skills were much needed in utilizing a partnership with Regional Food Bank to prepare dinner for the students and teaching the culinary arts focus group. The culinary class became so popular that it now serves to reward students who exhibit improvement in school grades and attendance.

“I have a passion for food and the kids love it. It’s an opportunity for them to learn and try dishes they probably wouldn’t at home,” Loeffler said.

According to Hirsch, it is this kind of community convergence and networking that keeps Loveworks alive and successful.

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