Reaching Out helps community, encourages students to serve

Reaching Out is an event that allows students to serve alongside one another, and give back to the community around them.
While this event has been a tradition for many years, this November 4th marked the first year students have had the chance to be involved in planning the event’s service activities. Sarah Herbsleb, a sophomore who participated in Reaching Out last year, was eager to apply for the newly-formed steering committee.
“Reaching Out is one of my favorite events at UMHB. It has impacted my life simply by the people I have been able to serve through it.”
When Hersleb heard that Reaching Out would have a steering committee she knew she wanted to be a part of it.
“I saw how big this event could get and how much more of an impact we could have on the Belton and Temple community,” she said.
As this tradition grows, faculty and students are hoping to not only touch the lives of more people in the community, but encourage more students to give back.
“I want to see Reaching Out become an event that the campus and the community gets excited about,” said Reaching Out co-director, Nathan VanDolzer. “One thing that we are excited for is letting people sign up together. and bond through service.”
Most student-led activities on campus have their own steering committee to plan out every aspect of the event.
Director of student organizations, Tiffany Wurdemann realized that events were more successful when they had a separate committee.
So even though Student Government Association (SGA) hosted Reaching Out in previous years, Wurdemann knew a steering committee would provide more opportunities for more student involvement.
“We decided to give it a try and take it out of SGA. Since then it has truly flourished,” Wurdemann said.
She is hopeful that these changes will impact the campus and community in a positive way.
This year, around 250 people gathered together on a Saturday morning to participate in Reaching Out. These volunteers helped out at Feed My Sheep, a soup kitchen for the homeless,helped with demolition at a boy’s shelter, and visited senior homes in the area to play games with the elderly.
Leah Smith, sophomore public relations major, and a director for Reaching Out said, raking leaves and picking up trash might seem like a small act of service, but it can mean a clean yard, a new start, and a fresh look at life for the recipient.
“My favorite part of Reaching Out is hearing from the sites after everything is done and hearing how much of an impact the students have made,” she said.

Author: Katrina Wordell

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