Service learning is a part of my DNA. It encompasses all that FGCU stands for.
A sad experience in Danielle Visone’s childhood led to a lifelong commitment to service-learning and civic engagement.
The death of her father inspired Visone to find a way to help children who were consumed with grief and inspired her to get involved in the founding of Valerie’s House, a support and bereavement services organization for young people ages 4-20 who have experienced the death of a parent or sibling. Visone now serves as the program director of the organization.
A graduate of FGCU (bachelor’s degree in psychology, 2014; master’s in social work, 2016), Visone achieved recognition that no other FGCU student has ever received: She earned the Excellence in Civic Engagement Award given by the Service-Learning Department twice — first as an undergraduate for completing more than 500 hours of service, and again as a graduate student for logging 200 more hours, culminating in her obtaining a position at Valerie’s House after graduation.
“Service-learning is an amazing opportunity to get involved with something you are passionate about in the community,” Visone said. “You can really get a lot of experience that you can use. Wherever you volunteer you can gain knowledge.”
A highlight of Visone’s service-learning experience at FGCU was her work leading a project with the Children’s Advocacy Center, creating a lending library for children affected by poverty.
Outside of work, Visone gives her time to Eva’s Closet, an organization that provides social services and clothing to help women in need, offering them “dignity and respect,” as Visone put it.
Visone’s advice to FGCU students when she was keynote speaker at the university’s Civic Engagement Day was to “get past it (service-learning) being a chore. You can really learn and gain so much for yourself from the experience.”