February 3, 2014
On January 20, 2014, the Civic Leaders engaged in two service projects in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. The Civic Leaders chose to either volunteer at People & Animal Learning Services (PALS), or at the Interfaith Winter Shelter at First United Church.
Students working at PALS got their hands dirty by clearing a path for a new horse trail through dead trees, underbrush, and a thick carpet of vines. They worked in 39-degree weather, and each of the 19 students took turns clipping, shoveling, hacking, cutting, or raking underbrush. After only a few hours, the students had cleared 200 meters and assisted PALS in completing the first stage of their newest project. The horse trail will be completed this summer and will be used by PALS clients during their therapeutic sessions. Reflecting on a hard day’s work, Galen Barker commented, “It was really nice getting together with a group of like-minded LLC members… It was a fantastic feeling to look back at the end of the project and see literally how far we had come.” Austin Moore added, “We’ve already experienced an LLC trip to Washington D.C. where we got to listen to speakers. But it was nice that we were able to bond in a different way and give back to the community at the same time.”
The other Civic Leaders that joined “Cover Bloomington,” a third annual event hosted by the Advisory Board from Indiana University’s Office of Mentoring Services and Leadership Development, were assigned to various projects that included gathering clothing and preparing warm meals for distribution to the Bloomington homeless community. Due to the extreme winter temperatures, students also prepared sleeping quarters for homeless community at the First United Church’s Interfaith Winter Shelter. Emily Ernsburger explained, “We set up cots while other Civic Leaders made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and sugar cookies, or went into residential areas to knock on doors asking for non-perishable food items. Ultimately, we were extremely successful and managed to collect 944 food items.”
Yanfei Wang, an international student from China, participated in collecting food items added, “I thought it was interesting going to new neighborhoods, knocking on each door one by one. To see the people of Bloomington come together, helping each other was beautiful. At first I was nervous knocking on the doors, but I felt comfortable with the other Civic Leaders. I felt like I really helped out.”
Tianshu Wu, another international student, mentioned, “It was interesting to see how a different culture interacted to help each other. While people do volunteer in China, it was a new attitude. People in China do donate food; but usually it’s not voluntarily. Never do we knock on doors to solicit donations. Still, it was cool be involved!”
Needless to say, Civic Leaders had a blast helping out the community. Caroline Wallace, the newest member to Civic Leaders, summarized the experience eloquently, “I participated in MLK Day all throughout high school and it was nice to get to participate in it here. I love giving back to my community and I love the Civic Leaders.”
For photos of the service project at Cover Bloomington, click here and go to page 9.
Author: Anna Schilling, Kelley School of Business (Civic Leaders Center Member)