Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

November 2, 2012

Goshen College students volunteer time to help community

GOSHEN — Nearly 200 Goshen College freshmen and faculty members were out in force on the streets of Goshen and Elkhart Wednesday afternoon as part of the college’s 14th annual Day of Service event.

Held once a year as a way for GC students to reaffirm their commitment to service, Wednesday’s event featured eight groups of approximately 20 freshmen students and two faculty members who were then paired with one of several service organizations or charities from around the county.

According to Jodi Beyeler, assistant director of public relations for the college, the Day of Service is part of the core curriculum of courses that all students must take as new students at the college.

“We made some changes last year to the day and instead of cancelling all classes, just the 100 and 200 level classes are cancelled for the day,” Beyeler said. “Then first-year students and their professors spend the day in service.”

Service organizations partnering with the college for this year’s event, which ran from  9 a.m. to 3 p.m., included: Boys and Girls Club of Goshen, Feed the Children, Habitat for Humanity, LaCasa Inc., Soup for Success, Greencroft and Pathways Retreat.

Christina Hofer, a GC freshman from South Dakota, was busy raking leaves in the 700 block of North Fifth Street Wednesday through her group’s partnership with LaCasa Inc.

“We split into groups, and our group is raking leaves here and I think we’re just going down the block and then down the other side of the block,” Hofer said. “All freshman are taking a core class as part of Goshen’s general education program, and the class is called Identity, Culture and Community. We always have a service day, it happens every year, but it’s part of this class this year. So all the freshmen are out today.”

Despite being a school requirement, Hofer said she sees the importance of volunteering for one’s community and would most likely have participated regardless of the requirement.

“Yeah, I think it’s definitely important,” Hofer said. “I mean, sure it’s hard for us to get up and get out on cold mornings like this. But there are so many of us. A class of 175 can do a lot. So yeah, I think it’s definitely important.”

Chris Vendrely, a GC freshman assisting in the clean-up efforts along Fifth Street, was quick to agree.

“Part of the Goshen core is service, so getting out here in the community in Goshen doing service is important to us,” Vendrely said. “Right now we’re raking leaves up and down the street. Hopefully we won’t be doing this for too long, because it’s pretty cold out here. We’ve got a lot more to do though. But it’s worth it.”

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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