Service day participants cover Plainview with paint, assistance

PLAINVIEW – Students and staff from Wayland Baptist University painted the town of Plainview Saturday for the Second Annual Degree of Difference Day – almost literally. 

With 21 different work sites scheduled for the day, teams set out around 9 a.m. to lend their hands and servant’s hearts to helping local agencies, churches and other entities. This year’s projects included much painting work as several entities took advantage of the university’s offer for free manpower for the day.

“It seemed like almost everyone needed us to paint this year, which the students all enjoyed last year, so it worked out great,” said Teresa Young, co-organizer of the event with Development Director Hope English. “Our only problem was that folks underestimated how quickly we would get the work done, so some teams finished faster than we thought they would. Our students and staff just jumped in there and got the job done and were so efficient.”

Teams composed of faculty and staff members as well as students descended upon sites for the morning spreading out over town for cleanup efforts in places like the city cemetery, a home location of Allegiance Behavioral Health Center and two agencies of the Central Plains Center, which needed floor waxing, buffing, carpet cleaning and some paint work. Trees were trimmed at the Girl Scout Hut and weeds pulled among other efforts at Plainview Christian Academy. A major cleanup effort occurred in east Plainview, where the Pioneer basketball team and others joined Primera Iglesia Bautista in an effort to beautify that neighborhood.

Many others, though, taking brushes and rollers to many city walls, helping paint the James Hearn Activity Center at Happy Union Baptist Church, the College Hill Daycare Center, the Wee Care Child Care Center, the Whiteaker Center, the Compassionate Care Pregnancy Center, Habitat for Humanity, Jericho Fellowship Church and other locations. A group joined members of churches in painting and beautifying the 18th and Houston site of the new Chalice Christian Church, which shares space with Good Samaritan Pentecostal Church.

The Flying Queens women’s basketball team and members of the Pioneer Baseball team stayed close to home for the day, helping paint trim on Wayland’s married student housing duplexes and doing cleanup and weeding in some areas. A choir group gathered at the Museum of the Llano Estacado for some cleanup as well. One team visited a local nursing home, playing the guitar and visiting residents, painting nails for female residents if they desired. Still another team worked with Plainview Main Street to stain planters that will be used to beautify the downtown area, and a crew of staff gathered to make lunches and deliver them to the workers. 

“All told, we had about 275 people working for the morning, and I think we got a lot accomplished across Plainview,” Young said. “We painted and cleaned and had a good time. I think the students enjoyed working with their professors and staff folks and just enjoyed giving back to the community.”

The sentiments of a few students proved that theory true.

“This provided an opportunity to share Christ’s love through work and not just talk,” said Jon Clifton, a junior from Sunrise Beach, who was on one of many painting crews for the day. He also noted he enjoyed the fellowship with other students and faculty.

“To know that we helped out in bettering our community feels really good,” noted Rosemary Ribera, a freshman from Canyon who served on the crew with Main Street, painting vases.

Though the work was hard at times and dirty with all the painting involved, students enjoyed the bonding time and helping community agencies.

“Today showed me that with hard work you can accomplish anything,” said Joe Brown, a freshman from Sugarland and a member of the Pioneer basketball team who worked in East Plainview. “When we first got here the weeds were taller than me and in abundance. With hard work we cleared it out.”

“I really enjoy getting out into the community and serving,” noted Lisa Hamilton, a senior from Slaton who painted in various locations. “Although I am covered in paint, I am excited and would love to go do some more!”

Joanne Jacob, a junior from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, concurred, summarizing the feelings of many about the work day.

“It feels good to know that whether you work with someone face-to-face or behind the scenes such as painting or doing dirty work, you’re still making a difference in someone’s life by filling a need,” she said. “I absolutely loved getting dirty with paint this year. It was so much fun!”

Besides the efforts in Plainview, a few of Wayland’s external campuses got in on the action as well, planning service projects for the week before DOD Day. The Lubbock campus has been selling WBU t-shirts to raise money for the Diabetes Walk held in that city, and the Amarillo and Albuquerque campuses held blood drives in conjunction with local blood centers. The campus in Fairbanks, Alaska – which is housed on Eielson Air Force Base and Fort Wainwright – has planned a collection drive for November to send supplies to troops deployed overseas.

The plan for the third Degree of Difference Day – slated for October 2008 – will be to involve WBU alums wherever they live in service efforts to their own communities as well, in celebration of the university’s centennial.