Students Serve Communities, Locally and Nationally
By Charity Parris
Lee University students took service beyond the campus by carrying out four student-led projects during spring break this March. Funded by a NobleCause grant awarded to Lee’s Leonard Center, these projects took place in areas from Atlanta to New York.
One team of students worked with City of Refuge and The Foundry in Atlanta and Birmingham, respectively. Both organizations focus on assisting and creating opportunities for those in poverty by providing community members with meals, job training, clothing, household items, medical care, shelter, and many other resources. The Lee students also visited the Mid-South Food Bank in Memphis, which is the largest food bank in its area, offering services through charitable or faith-based organizations to those in need of assistance.
“It was inspiring to work with these organizations because we got to help the community in small ways while they are helping people in huge ways,” said Abigail Lawrence, a Lee student on the trip. “It helped me realize we do not always need to serve people directly to make an impact. I came back wanting to serve more in the community around me.”
Two other groups traveled to New York, serving in areas including Harlem, Manhattan, and The Bronx. These teams were able to provide a service much like Lee’s Crossover Ministries by delivering boxes of food to, hearing stories from, and talking with low-income elders.
Additionally, these students collaborated with the Relief Bus, a mobile outreach center, and the Bowery Mission, a rescue mission and men’s shelter. The teams provided local residents with food and hygiene products and visited homes to clean, run errands, do laundry, and assist with any other needs. These teams also volunteered at Goodwill Rescue Mission in New Jersey by cleaning the facility, serving food, and hosting a gathering for approximately 200 community members.
With a focus on the local community, one team of Lee students stayed in Cleveland to carry out its project. This group organized a block party for local refugee and international families to gather and enjoy various activities. About 150 individuals attended, and each family brought a custom food from their native country. These students also arranged a movie night where families bonded over popcorn and the animated film, “Zootopia.” To close the week’s activities, the team took families to Superfly Extreme Air Sports and Hamilton Place Mall in Chattanooga.
“It was an incredible time to learn the many differences and many similarities in our beliefs and cultures, and ultimately, it was a great time to begin relationships that will hopefully last a lifetime,” said Emily Gates, one of the Cleveland team members.
Service-learning at Lee is guided by the Leonard Center and is designed to prepare students for Christian citizenship through reflective community interactions that encourage a commitment to the ideals of service, benevolence, civic virtue, and social justice.
This project was sponsored by NobleCause, made possible by an anonymous donor within the GiveWell Community Foundation and organized by Noblehour.com, a volunteer management tool that promotes a culture of civic engagement and charts meaningful, measurable acts of goodness.
For more information about service at Lee, visit service learning.
For more information about NobleCause, visit site.