Taylor to Offer Program Studying Orphans and Vulnerable Children

Published: Jul 18, 2014

A new program offering at Taylor University will provide a holistic focus on the needs of orphans and vulnerable children.

The new program, Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC), will be a minor in the Taylor curriculum beginning this fall. OVC will be offered by the Taylor Department of Psychology and can augment any of Taylor’s 60-plus majors, but will be especially complementary to those working in the social sciences, education, and public health.

The minor will contain courses in the fields of developmental psychology, behavioral problems of children, public health, justice and law, philanthropy and not-for-profit management. There is also a foundational course called Orphans and Vulnerable Children.

A second initiative available for students interested in this population is the Village Tree Experience, which is housed in Student Development. This group of students takes the OVC course, participates in a practicum, and lives together for a year in a Living Learning Community focused around the topic. The program contains four unique aspects:

  1. Students enroll in the OVC course.
  2. Students will be required to complete a practicum with an organization that works with orphans and vulnerable children in the field. Contact organizations include:
    1. The Boaz Project, a ministry that works in orphanages in Russia and India founded by Taylor alumni,
    2. Hands of Hope, an adoption and orphanage partner ministry founded by a Taylor alumnus. Students work in Honduras.
    3. Shepherd Community Center in Indianapolis
    4. Fort Wayne Clubhouse
    5. Students then participate in a living learning community – an intentional housing unit that helps students think holistically about classwork, research and practicum experience. Students will be able to share and reflect on the issue of orphans and vulnerable children as well as discovering their own calling.
    6. Village Tree Experience students will work on a research topic related to orphans and vulnerable children that connects to their discipline and sense of vocational calling.

The first cohort of the Village Tree Experience is currently participating in the summer practicums and will live together beginning in the fall. The minor will be launched in Fall 2014. Students have the opportunity to complete both the minor and the Village Tree Experience, but may opt for one or the other.

“Taylor University has a long history of equipping and sending students and alumni to work with vulnerable children around the globe,” said OVC program director and Assistant Professor of Psychology Dr. Scott Moeschberger. “This program will enhance that focus with new initiatives intended to bring together scholarship and practice.”