Friday, August 30, 2013

UIS student begin school year with Service-A-Thon

University of Illinois Springfield students gave back to the Springfield community during the annual Welcome Week Service-A-Thon on August 30, 2013.

Students worked various shifts throughout the day helping the American Red Cross Illinois Capital Area Chapter, Habitat for Humanity of Sangamon County, Hospital Sister’s Mission Outreach, and the St. John’s Breadline.

“We’re trying to give back to the community, we’re trying to connect students to the community on their first week of classes,” said Mark Dochterman, director of the UIS Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center.

UIS freshman Marissa Farris woke up early on a Friday morning to help fill American Red Cross comfort kits full of toothpaste, combs, and other items that are handed out following disasters.

“I enjoy volunteering because it just makes me feel good to know that I’m helping someone else, someone who’s in their time of need,” said Farris.

The Red Cross comfort kits will be distributed to 39 counties across central Illinois.

“Everybody needs to help their own community. If you’re part of the UIS community, you should help because it’s one thing to just stand back and look and it’s another thing to even put toothpaste in a Red Cross bag,” said Mihai Smarandescu, a UIS sophomore.

At the St. John’s Breadline, UIS volunteers helped prepare and serve food, carried trays, and helped distribute items to the homeless.

“These people are out here in need of food and I’m lucky enough to not have that problem, but when I can help like this it’s great,” said Alexa McClaughry, a UIS freshman.

Dochterman hopes the students also learn a few leadership lessons from the experience.

“These students have an opportunity to meet community members, to see the experiences of people other than college students, to be a part of Springfield,” said Dochterman.

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