Defiance College social work students Pay It Forward

December 13, 2016 

DC Student Gabrielle Marretta and Karina Dickinson of Project RespectDEFIANCE, Ohio - Students from Defiance College’s Social Work Macro Practice with Communities and Organizations class conducted their annual Pay It Forward initiative during the fall semester. The course directly impacts community needs by awarding financial assistance. This year, the class awarded a $2,000 grant to Project Respect of Northwest Ohio.

Since 2008, the DC class has awarded more than $17,000 to address needs of transportation, hunger, unemployment, poverty, youth mentorship and cultural understanding in northwest Ohio. With steps embedded in the curriculum, students conduct a five-county community assessment, prepare a request for grant proposals, send RFPs to approximately 50 non-profit social service agencies, and award grants to applicants that best address the identified community need.

The project began in 2008 with funding through the Pay It Forward student-led philanthropy program led by Ohio and Kentucky Campus Compacts, and later with the support of the Women’s Giving Circle of Defiance. In recent years, the class has raised its own funds through a number of events such as raffles, bake sales, and donation solicitation. This year, a portion of the funds was raised with support from Buffalo Wild Wings which donated a percentage of one-day dining sales. The class also held a series of bake sales during local Knights of Columbus fish fry events, and at General Motors during breaks and lunch.

This year’s grant recipient, Project Respect, is a character education program of the CPC – Women’s Health Resource in Northwest Ohio. Its programs directly address current issues teens face including media pressures, bullying, sexting, internet safety, unhealthy relationships, sexual pressures, avoiding sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy, dating violence, and more. Project Respect serves students and adults in Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Paulding, Putnam and Williams counties.

In addition to the $2,000 grant awarded to Project Respect, the Macro Practice class taught by Professor Alesia Yakos-Brown also awarded $200 to Children’s Lantern to help fund gift boxes for its clients.

Defiance College, chartered in 1850, is an independent, liberal arts institution in Northwest Ohio offering nearly 40 undergraduate programs of study as well as graduate programs in education and business. Defiance College has received national recognition for its educational experience of service and engagement. The college website is