Amplifying the Greater Good
Hazelle Lundquist Award supports MSW student projects that meet community needs
Instead of traditional party favors, Bill and Liz Hyatt gave each of their wedding guests a gift card with which to make microloans to small businesses around the world. When they decided last year that they wanted to help people closer to home, the Hyatts approached the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work with another novel idea: providing grants for students working to implement programs to thoughtfully engage community and meet community needs.
The only award of its type at the school, the Hazelle Lundquist Award provided grants for three MSW students in the 2018–19 school year, supporting innovative, enterprising projects that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. The award is named for Liz’s late grandmother, an immigrant from Sweden who lived most of her adult life near the University.
“The Hazelle Lundquist Award offers a wonderful opportunity to support our amazing students, live our values and realize our vision of being a school of social work dedicated to equity, social justice and deep community engagement,” says Assistant Dean for Students Deana Ahmad. “Awardees build on the skills they are cultivating in the classroom and bridge them into impactful projects and partnerships within the community.”
Award recipient Kayln Brown, a Sustainable Development & Global Practice concentration student, proposed a project for immigrant and refugee teens and young adults at the East Colfax Youth Center in Denver. Working with center staff, Brown conducted interviews and designed and facilitated focus groups for 30 youth, who shared that education, college and career readiness were priorities, along with support for social–emotional growth. Center staff are using the information Brown gathered to retool youth programing, including creation of the center’s first youth leadership council.
Other Lundquist awardees included 2019 MSW graduates Lisa Zondlo and Ellie Adelman. Zondlo completed a field internship in Latin America, where she worked in Guatemala with the La Puerta Abierta traveling library program and in Mexico with the Yo’onik Community Learning Center. Adelman applied her experience in design thinking to establishment of The Village Institute, an initiative to develop a holistic residential resettlement program for newly arrived refugee families.
“It is critical to work with and beside individuals and families to ensure that they are being provided with the resources and support to rebuild safe and sustainable lives,” Brown says. “By creating a safe and transformative space for refugee youth, the opportunities to excel academically will further foster their leadership skills to become outstanding change-makers within their communities.”
That’s just the sort of transformative potential the Hyatts wanted to amplify for the greater community good. “We’re blessed to be in a place where we can do this,” says Bill, who works for a financial advisory firm. “If you have all your needs met and have an abundance to share, why not give some of it away and see how it transforms people’s lives?” adds Liz, a Realtor. “There is nothing that will make you happier.”