Community is our middle name!
by Katherine Noll,
On April 6, 2016, Northampton Community College (NCC) held its second annual Day of Service. The event was organized by the College's Center for Civic and Community Engagement.
Close to 200 NCC students, faculty and staff could be found helping out in children's centers, animal shelters, community centers, elementary schools and more throughout the Lehigh Valley and Monroe County. Armed with paintbrushes, brooms, dust rags, and hula hoops, they scrubbed, painted, and played to help make a difference in their communities.
Members of NCC's International Student Organization (ISO) volunteered last year at the Boys and Girls Club of Easton. They decided to return again this year, and spent the day engaged in active play with preschoolers from the Spring Garden Day Care Center.
"We're happy to have this opportunity for the international students to help out and spend time with the children," Yousaf Muhammad, president of the ISO and an emergency services major, said. "It's a great way for us to learn about American culture."
"I love to see NCC students here!" Tammi Reaves-Duncan '15, an NCC early childhood education graduate, exclaimed. She works for Spring Garden Day Care Center. "And I love NCC because it is a school of the community."
The children loved the attention from the college students. They hula-hooped, played tug of war, soccer, built forts made out of giant dominoes (creatively made from recycled bicycle boxes!) and had fun with puppets. Their laughter filled the gym at the Boys and Girls Club.
"The ISO has enjoyed this so much we would like to partner with the Boys and Girls Club on more projects in the future," Mark Orse, the club advisor, said.
Kristy Robinson, recreation coordinator at the Northampton County Juvenile Justice Center, is an NCC criminal justice major graduate who was also happy to see NCC students giving back.
"It's very nice. I would love to have more volunteers!" she said of the group who came to paint a wall at the center.
"That was my question," Jennifer Hubbard, a global studies major, replied. "How else could we help?"
Robinsons had lots of suggestions, everything from cooking classes to art projects.
"That would be perfect for us," Hubbard said of herself and fellow student Trinity Lattig, a social work major, "because we both live in Easton."
One day of service has the potential to turn into many more!
Deb Bohr, director of NCC's Center for Civic and Community Engagement, organized all the volunteer opportunities.
"NCC students, staff and faculty have always shown their passion for the surrounding communities. This is never more evident than on our annual Day of Service. This day is a win-win collaboration between NCC and the local non-profits who reap the benefits. It strengthens ties with our neighbors and reminds people that we are indeed a college of the community!" Bohr said.
NCC students, faculty and staff volunteered at the following locations:
Boys and Girls Club - Bethlehem and Easton
Cancer Support Center
Care Net - Allentown and Bethlehem
East 40 Community Garden
Easton Area Community Center
Easton Area Neighborhood Center
Fountain Hill Elementary School
George Taylor House
Gress Mountain Ranch
Mountain View Vineyard
Northampton County Juvenile Center
Pleasant Valley Manor
Women's Resources of Monroe County
Students in Professor Tim Molchany's small group communications class hosted students from East Hills Middle School, gave them a tour of the Bethlehem Campus, and held workshops to help them increase their study skills.
Even Northampton's youngest students participated! Preschool children in NCC's Reibman Hall Children's Center experienced service learning first hand by collecting snacks for the Easton Community Center. These little helpers created posters and sang the "I Want to be a Service Helper" song while visiting classrooms around the campus to share their message of helping those in need!
If you missed NCC's Day of Service but would like to volunteer (or if you participated and would like to help out even more!), contact Deb Bohr in College Center, Room 236 of the Bethlehem Campus, firstname.lastname@example.org, or 610-861-5061.