Goshen News, Goshen, IN

September 26, 2013

Annual event introduces first-year GC students to not-for-profit agencies


— GOSHEN — Instead of spending a day in the classroom, Malcolm Stovall spent the day painting bathrooms and pulling weeds at The Boys and Girls Club of Goshen Wednesday.

A freshman at Goshen College, Stovall participated in the 15th annual service day with nine groups of first-year students, along with faculty, volunteering at not-for-profit services agencies in Goshen and Elkhart.

“I didn’t know what to expect at first. It’s made me realize how much work can be done (by working together) in helping others,” said Stovall, of Seattle, Wash. “I was inside painting and decided to come out and get some fresh air while pulling these weeds out of the mulch.”

Students also volunteered at Greencroft and Pathways Retreat Center in Goshen and Habitat for Humanity, La Casa, Inc., Soup for Success and Feed the Children in Elkhart. One group helped set up for the Mennonite Central Committee Relief Sale at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds.

Stovall said he wasn’t familiar with the programs and activities at The Boys and Girls Club.

“When I see their impact on the community and learning about their program objectives, it makes me want to consider coming back and volunteer here and be a positive role in the life of a kid,” Stovall said.

Stephanie Miller, a CORE 100 instructor at GC, said the purpose of the service day “is to expose the students to service leadership. This is one of five core values we value very much.

“Our students want to do serve others but don’t always have the time,” Miller said. “They have a desire and this gives them the time and opportunity. Most of them know in their heart that service is good and this is a way for them to express themselves and learn about their community.”

The service day provided a better understanding of GC core values for Ben Lazar, of Indianapolis.

“It’s a positive, encouraging feeling to get active in the community and pursue sharing with others by volunteering,” Lazar said.

And Aaron Graber, of San Francisco, Calif., said his local high school had a big emphasis on community service, so he was used to being a volunteer. He also appreciated being outside on a nice day rather than being inside a classroom. But there was another significant aspect of the service day that Graber learned about while pulling weeds and painting.

“For me, this gives a valuable insight to the Goshen community,” Graber said.