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Midlands Technical College Wins Statewide Service Learning Award

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 (left to right) Jeffrey Schilz, CHE Interim President and Executive Director;
MTC Respiratory Care instructor Cayce Hendrix; MTC Respiratory Care instructor
Tracy Cook; Valli Bobo, MTC Director of Clinical Education Respiratory Care; and
Eddie Jackson, MTC Program Director of Respiratory Care display the award received from CHE.

Camp Catch Your Breath of the Midlands, the Service Learning project of Midlands Technical College’s (MTC) Respiratory Care program, has received the annual Service Learning Award from the S.C. Commission on Higher Education (CHE). Camp Catch Your Breath is, a student-driven, sustainable community outreach health promotion campaign that provides MTC’s Respiratory Care students the opportunity for hands-on application of their acquired skills and knowledge.

“MTC students learn so much from this camp,” said MTC Respiratory Care instructor Cayce Hendrix. “We work year-round to prepare for this one, eight-hour day. The students do the fundraising and assist in camper recruitment by taking information and flyers to area medical practices, which gives the students an opportunity to interact with local doctors and employers outside of the hospital setting. This camp allows the students make a positive difference in their community by providing this educational opportunity to our asthmatic population.”

More than 100,000 children across South Carolina suffer from asthma, which is the number one reason children miss school. It is the number one reason they go to the emergency room. Without proper attention, this disease can stop kids from living an active lifestyle.

“This gives children a place where they can have fun and learn about their asthma at the same time,” Hendrix said. “Campers learn how to avoid triggers, take medication properly, and follow an asthma action plan, and they have fun doing it.”

Since 2001, the CHE Service Learning Award has recognized exemplary service learning contributions made by the students of South Carolina’s public and private colleges and universities. This year, 13 nominees were evaluated on the following criteria: the ability to resolve community concerns or address community issues; the degree to which the project enhances students’ learning; the impact of the project on campus; and, the integration of the project’s activities into academics.

“I’m so impressed by the creativity, commitment, and compassion exhibited by these young people,” said CHE Commissioner Dianne Kuhl, who led this year’s selection committee. “They are representative of the best our state has to offer and a positive example for us all.”

While dozens of young people with asthma from throughout the Midlands benefit from the free camp every year, Hendrix said the MTC Respiratory Care program and students benefit as well. It enhances the students’ educational experience, provides hands-on training in a diverse atmosphere, and promotes service and volunteerism in the community.

“Being a team member of innovative educators, staff, and administrators of Midlands Technical College who support service learning is a privilege,” said Hendrix. “Camp Catch Your Breath is an opportunity for respiratory care students to work through challenges and succeed as they find leadership within themselves. Observing the students’ accomplishments is inspiring and makes my job most rewarding.”