Inver Hills faculty volunteer during AD Days
Around 75 faculty members at Inver Hills Community College participated in a Day of Service as part of Academic Development (AD) Days on Wednesday, August 17, 2016. Dionna Jones, Center for Experiential Learning director, reported that the Day of Service resulted from the work of the college’s Poverty Committee in conjunction with a desire put forward by faculty to engage as a team with the college’s community partners. The focus of the day was food insecurity and Inver Hills campus beautification.
Service sites included:
- Feed My Starving Children in Eagan
- Neighbors, Inc., in South St. Paul
- The Open Door in Apple Valley
- Vineyard Community Services in Burnsville
- Inver Hills Community College-Metropolitan State University Community Garden & Orchard on campus
“Faculty also worked on beautifying the campus by weeding and general cleanup,” Dionna added. “Our instructors gave lots of great feedback on the experience.”
The Open Door, Apple Valley, Minnesota, location
LeAnne Schmidt, MS, LPC
Inver Hills Counselor
As volunteers at The Open Door, we helped sort and organize food, packed coolers and boxes, and filled the Mobile Pantry vans for delivery. The Mobile Pantry site is in a warehouse and is run by Pam Murphy, one additional staff member, Amanda, and many volunteers. The work is busy, hot, hectic and heavy. Today, one of the volunteers picked up donated food and delivered it to the site. Another sorted food to different categories and checked for expired food. Amanda and Pam helped us organize and load food, and then they each drive the vans to the mobile locations for distribution.
We have referred students to the Mobile Pantry for several years, but this is the first time we have had a chance to see what really goes into getting the food ready for distribution. We have more of an appreciation for what it takes to get healthy, quality food to people who need it. We also realized the importance of making sure our students show up for their appointments (after all of the time and effort that goes into preparing the food) and that we fill our MP slots as much as possible. This is a tremendous service for our students and we need to meet their needs as well as those of the Mobile Pantry. We need to make sure that it is worth it for the Mobile Pantry to come to our site and if we’re not filled, they could be delivering food somewhere else.
Moving forward, we talked about taking our group back to volunteer again, as we all felt that this was a really good way for us to have an understanding of the service as well as what students get. We can more completely speak to students about what the MP has to offer. One of the biggest takeaways for us was hearing Pam say that when she was a workstudy student at IHCC and accessed the Mobile Pantry, she struggled with getting on the bus the first time and admit she needed support. Now she is running the program and giving back to the community she felt so much support from. Pam energetically and positively impacts her community in all she does and we are grateful for this partnership. While we have had meetings in the past, we¹ve never worked side-by-side and having the opportunity to work together today also helped us to strengthen our relationship with Pam and her staff.
Vineyard Community Services, Burnsville, Minnesota, location
- Brent Olsonawsky
- Ann Deiman
- Steve Strom
- Cheryl Redinger
- Ben Franske
- Scott Sandok
- Paul Cero
- Louise Elliott
- Janis Hofschulte
- Sue Frosch-Erickson
Filled 211 children’s new backpacks with schools supplies for distribution on August, 27, at the Family Fest. Goal is to assist families and children with backpacks and needed supplies for start of school year. We all enjoyed our time spent here!
Reflections from group
Question #1: What impact did the experience have on me? Personal, social, opinions, views/beliefs
- Recognition that, at the start of school year, the cost of supplies for children is costly; it also is time consuming to shop for the many specific supplies required at different grade levels.
- Support of this type allows children to enter classrooms at the start of the academic year on an equal level; it’s emotional for children to not have proper supplies and/or to feel different than their peers.
- Promotion of child’s self-esteem and willingness to take risks when they are prepared and readied for school year.
Question #2: What impact did I have on the community?
- We were a community of volunteers that had a positive team spirit and displayed a strong “Go Inver” competitive nature to complete our goal in a timely manner!
- We supported teachers in this act of service, recognizing they may sometimes use their funds to supplement students with supplies.
- This act of volunteering/service-learning broke down barriers for some of us that may have never experienced this form of physical service work.
Question #3: How will I move forward from here?
- Ideas were shared on how to create a resource area at Inver for staff and faculty that may want to know of sites where they could complete service-learning; bBoard for posting sites.
- Created deeper understanding of the services that are available for students, families across the metro; eye opening to know 1,400 families receive food each month from this one site.
- Initiated thoughts on how times are available for us to offer ourselves in this role, including nights and weekends.
- The volunteer coordinator shared with us the many groups/individuals that work to keep this facility operational.
- We were given ideas to develop with our students at Inver; nursing and advising clubs were mentioned
- Discussion on social change—it starts with us making a difference! The site is welcoming and friendly!
- How could an online class be pulled into a service-learning project to form positive relationships and stronger ties between each other.
- This could be a way we (Inver Hills) are different/stronger than other community colleges.
To learn more about the Day of Service, contact:
Center for Experiential Learning Director