Story by Nicole Dohm
Photos Courtesy Carol Spaulding-Kruse
It is a two-year curriculum -based community engagement experience that includes over 100 student and faculty collaborators.
The press produces illustrated editions serving a community readership on concerns of the people of Iowa, the partners with Iowa organizations to promote positive interaction and to better the community.
The press provides students with knowledge of book editing and production.
The Drake Community Press is funded by the Drake Center for the Humanities, the Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship, the College of Arts & Sciences, the Slay Fund for Social Justice, and the Office of the Provost.
“This curriculum- and community-based literary initiative is a unique opportunity for students from many academic disciplines to collaborate with their peers, professors, and community members in creating a book with, and on behalf of, a partnering community organization,” said Carol Spaulding-Kruse. ““The Ones I Bring With Me: Iowa’s Young Latinas on Identity, Education, and Success” is the inaugural project of the Press, with a planned publication date of January 2014. In this book, middle-school girls who have participated in the Latinas al Exito programs and their adult, college-experienced Latina mentors share their stories about growing up Latina in Iowa, with an emphasis on the importance of education and on overcoming barriers that keep Latinas from completing school. In these real-life stories shared with Drake student interviewers and editors, young Latinas from five participating Iowa communities (Perry, Belmond/Clarion, Des Moines, Marshalltown, and Tama/Toledo) talk about the relationships, role models, family and cultural influences led them to regard education as the path to future dreams.”
The target audience for the book includes Latino readers who will benefit as they learn that one can overcome barriers and decide to stay in school, graduate from high school, and gain more skills by enrolling in some form of post-secondary education.
“The Drake University Community Press is a non-profit Drake program relying on internal and external funding to support the cost of printing and promotion. When the book is published in early 2014, Drake University and Latinas al Exito will co-host a book launch to include students and family members from other Latinas al Exito groups, the Drake University campus community, and the larger Iowa community. The book will be distributed to schools and libraries throughout the state, especially those with high or growing Latino populations, and offered for sale to the general public through traditional venues such as bookstores, on-line, and at author signing events,” said Carol.
Carol started a Writing Internship Program In 2007, through the Department of English as part of developing her interest in linking Service-Learning and the teaching of writing. Out of that service-learning framework, she conceived an idea for starting a community press that could further the goals of meaningful experiential learning for the students as well as responsiveness to the needs and issues of the area community of which Drake is a part. From that idea, she produced a book titled Zakery’s Bridge: Children’s Journeys From Around the World to Iowa.
“I was fortunate to receive two grants from the Drake Center for the Humanities in support of this project, one in 2007 and another in 2010. The book was a collaborative effort involving two community non-profit organizations, Drake student interns and a local publisher,” said Carol, “since January 2011, the book has produced more than $6000 in revenue (after costs) for CultureALL, which provides hands-on multicultural education in schools and workplaces, and the long-standing Iowa International Center (formerly the Iowa Council for International Understanding). Zakery’s Bridge provided me with the production and community-networking experience needed to plan a similar publishing venture for Drake students.”