Stories of Service

Members Heather Hrivnak and Carrie Mitchell serve at flight 93 annual memorial day of remembrance.

Members Heather Hrivnak and Carrie Mitchell serve at flight 93 annual memorial day of remembrance.

In the mornings I tutor groups of 3rd and 4th graders who need to improve their multiplication facts. They often take timed tests, where they have to solve 30 problems in 90 seconds for each group of facts (3s, 4s, 5s, etc.).

It’s very rewarding when those students finally pass a test they have been struggling with because it makes me feel like I am making a difference in their lives. The fourth graders begin working on concepts that involve being able to recall multiplication facts quickly, and if I am ensuring that these are mastered in 3rd grade, I am making their lives easier down the road. It’s a pretty good feeling.  ~ Brenda McDevitt, Jackson Elementary

I go to a local Head Start every Wednesday morning for Storytime Outreach. I take with me 2-3 books that are of the same theme. I also prepare a craft for each individual child to make that is also related to the theme of the books.

For the first couple of weeks, it was incredibly awkward reading books to 3-4 year olds. But soon, it became the highlight of my week. The way their little faces light up when they all huddle around me on the floor to hear a story melts the heart. One morning as I walked into the classroom, they all stopped what they were doing and ran up to me screaming “Mr. Keith! Mr. Keith!” They were SO excited for Storytime and I was so proud to be able to provide this experience for them.

Most of the children in the Head Start program come from poor families with little resources. Many of their parents don’t have time to just sit down and read to them because they are busy working. It’s so important that I am able to continue providing this service to the children. They are still the highlight of my week.

~ Keith Fullerton, Eva K. Bowlby Library

From the beginning of September through December I was involved in a Christmas Service Project for Alpha Partial Hospitalization Program. The service project required me to go out into the community and ask for donations (monetary and food) to help fund a Christmas party for my current consumers.

The Community of Indiana was a great support in my efforts to provide a luncheon and gifts for each consumer (outfits, shoes, jackets). Besides the community’s donations, I had set up two angel trees within the Guidance Center. Each angel had a consumer’s toy request and clothing/shoe sizes. Purchasing all of the clothing and stocking stuffers was stressful, but rewarding at the same time. I enjoyed going around selecting outfits I knew each consumer would love.

While I was shopping I encountered a few people who were extremely kind to my cause. As they overheard me explaining my service project they provided me with generous donations and gift cards to stores in the mall. Retail workers were more than willing to give me extra discounts and help me find the best deals throughout their stores. The more I spoke about my project the more the community was willing to help.

The day of the party was quite hectic. I remember running around frantically putting stockings in all the classrooms and piling presents at each consumers desk. I felt overly excited as all of my efforts were finally coming together.

As the first “little” entered the group room, I remember hearing him say, “WOW!” His smile lit up his whole face as he walked over to “Santa” and was directed towards his seat surrounding by presents. As each consumer entered the room you could see the excitement in their eyes. Watching them open with their presents was one of the best feelings I have experienced, knowing I was able to make their Christmas one to remember. The adolescents also expressed signs of gratitude towards staff and displayed bright affects throughout the day.

Overall my service project was a success. The day was spent providing consumers with fun-filled activities and then an afternoon party. The following day the consumers created a poster board stating, “Christmas Fashion Show.” Each consumer wore their new outfits/shoes/jacket and took turns walking down the hallway. You could tell they were all enjoying themselves immensely and happy to “show off” their new attire.

~ Caroline O’Donnell Community Guidance Center