Jennifer Carran serves up coffee with a little conversation
In the fall of 2005, Jennifer Carran, psychology and theology '06, coordinated the Coffee-Mate volunteer program. Coffee-Mate, a program started by alumna Elizabeth (Kasberger) Sanchez, is a coffee shop at the Milwaukee Mental Health Complex where residents with severe and persistent mental illness can interact with student volunteers. The students staff the coffee shop, invite residents to read donated books and magazines, talk with students and enjoy a free cup of coffee, hot chocolate or cider.
"It is a great opportunity to work in a clinical setting," says Carran. "We don't counsel the residents. We just interact with them and get to know them." The social interaction provided is valuable. Not only do students get to interact with residents, they are also able to observe how the institution runs. This year, eight students volunteer.
In addition, the psychology club raises money to maintain and stock the coffee shop and sponsors a book and magazine drive to provide reading material for the residents.