John Farris, a second year Hunsaker scholar at the University of Redlands majoring in Organizational Consulting, is a Student Ambassador for the Office of Community Service Learning. Currently John works with Inland Harvest, a low overhead non-profit agency that distributes food to non-profit agencies serving the homeless and to those with food insecurities. John's expertise in developing survey and mapping tools has allowed Inland Harvest to expand its organizational structure in collecting and redistributing food in the Inland Empire of Southern California. John has a history of taking initiative to address sustainable solutions for community problems. In high school he developed mapping tools for STEMI, an Arkansas emergency medical software that increases response time for lethal heart attack victims. John was also the co-founder of TLC Community Foundation, which developed organizational structures to prepare high school students with financial need in tutoring services and college prep workshops. These programs continue today and are examples of his expertise in sustainable methods with real solutions. His work as an Ambassador for Inland Harvest is a culmination of his expertise in GIS technologies and his compassion for those in need.
My interest in community programs began with a course in middle-school called East, which emphasized the use of student-led, tech-enabled projects for the community. Continuing in high school, I co-founded the TLC Community Foundation with the only local tutoring company in my rural area. As a student, I quickly became aware of the requirements for getting into college or technical programs, and how inequitable the resources were for getting there: especially for students who couldn't afford tutoring and college counseling. Most recently, I've joined a food-saving organization, Inland Harvest.
My common approach to service is to work with existing organizations with established connections to the community. I work with them to identify strengths and weaknesses, to collaborate and create systems, processes, and adopt technologies that better enable them to accomplish their missions sustainably. The goal is to create efficient systems that work for an organization instead of weighing them down. Along the way, we commonly find new or more effective ways of serving the community. In current and future projects, I'm working on integrating studies and research to design efficacious models of service and to create programs which are funded more sustainably.