Campus serves local organizations
Only one day out of any given semester will hundreds of Crusaders be up before 8 a.m. on a Saturday. That’s for Reaching Out.
This year’s community service event Oct. 8 was a huge success. With almost double the expected attendance, 350 Crusaders donated a few hours of their weekend to help some of Bell County’s most understaffed and good-willed organizations.
Junior math education major and Director of Spiritual Life for the Student Government Association Shaina Ryan was pleased with the turnout of students who wanted to serve.
“We had loads of people show up,” she said. “We ordered 200 shirts and ran out even before it began.”
Fifteen different organizations received aid from the Cru that morning. Programs like Hope for the Hungry, Helping Hands, Habitat for Humanity, Aware Central Texas, Ronald McDonald House and Temple free clinic were among several others.
Students worked on projects such as cleaning, organizing and even uprooting a tree stump at First Baptist in Belton.
Baptist Student Ministry Director Dr. Shawn Shannon said she is “encouraged” by the number of students willing to sacrifice a Saturday morning to help and is “excited for them.”
Shannon wishes to “cultivate the kind of people that would do (Reaching Out)” with each year that UMHB participates.
Students met at Luther Memorial at 8 a.m. and signed up for their organization of choice while eating a quick breakfast provided by the university. Then after a few songs of worship, prayer and some encouraging words by Shannon, they were off.
One of the sites was local, Aware Central Texas. Formerly a volunteer branch of Child Protective Services, this organization’s mission is to prevent child abuse, neglect and domestic violence.
The branch serves all of Central Texas, so they needed all the help they could get. Even a handful of Crusaders who spent several hours cleaning up meeting rooms, classrooms and offices was helpful.
Sophomore mathematics major Loren Watson visited ACT and was glad to give back to the community.
“I think what Aware Central Texas is doing is great, and with such a big population to serve there is a lot more work to be done with ACT,” Watson said.
A group of Crusaders, on their way to clean grave sites at Hillcrest Cemetery, saw a family doing yard work. With the overwhelming turnout of students involved, there were hands to spare, so two freshmen helped the family clean their yard.
To pull off such an event involved quite a bit of work. However, Director of Student Organizations Kristy Brischke, the Student Government Association and four class chaplains planned and organized for about a month prior.
Ryan, with the help of her staff, put on the event this year despite Ryan’s also directing Stunt Night, speaking in chapel the Wednesday before Reaching Out about her year-long mission to the United Kingdom and carrying a full academic course load.
Ryan was happy with the success of the program and the ministry opportunities it provided students.
The event organizers hope if students did not get the chance to serve this semester, they will participate in the spring.
Ryan said “Reaching Out turned out really well, but we’re hoping to come back bigger and better next semester.”