Students and Employees Make a Difference in the Community
January 30, 2017
Wayland Baptist University students and employees gathered Saturday morning to lend a helping hand around the community as part of the week-long celebration of the inauguration of Dr. Bobby Hall as president. One of Dr. Hall’s points of emphasis is for the university to be an active, vital member of the communities in which it serves.
Throughout the week, employees at all of Wayland’s campuses participated in various service-oriented volunteer initiatives. The external campus employees volunteered at food banks, hosted blood drives, prepared meals at homeless shelters, collected school supplies for an elementary school among some of their projects.
In Plainview, nearly 90 employees and students conducted a number of volunteer activities for Degree of Difference Day. Many helped clean up the local parks while others worked at several non-profit organizations such as the Compassionate Care Pregnancy Center, Broadway Treasures, the Salvation Army store and Paws Pet Adoption. Needless to say, the group at Paws Pet Adoption had so much fun playing with the animals awaiting adoption that they forgot they were working.
One group helped paint the walls and trim at the Plainview Health Care Center while another group spent time singing, playing games and getting acquainted with the residents of Santa Fe Place. Some students collected bags of food in local neighborhoods that had been canvased earlier in the week. Bags were left on doors asking for donations to Faith in Sharing House. A group picked up the bags and sorted the food on Saturday morning, an activity that students found rewarding.
“It was really cool picking up food from the houses,” said Wayland student Melanie Panko. “The whole community got involved. This was really encouraging.”
Another group was working at an elderly couple’s house to help clean up the yard and do odd jobs inside the residence. The couple did not speak English, which posed a problem for the group that did not have a native Spanish speaker among them. Members of the group said the most entertaining part of their day was watching a Rodrigo Silva, a Brazilian national, translate his native language, Portuguese, to Spanish and back to English in order to communicate with the couple.
Another group helped install insulation and sheet rock in a small house that had none. Working with Love in Action, the Wayland group was able to accomplish more than expected on the project. Love in Action had recently installed a wall heating unit. The occupants had been using the stove to heat the small house.
“It was amazing,” said Randy Watson, the residence hall supervisor for Jimmy Dean Hall and President of Love in Action. “The Wayland students jumped in and went to work. They all cooperated and got stuff done. They got twice as much done as we thought would get.”
In all, Wayland worked on 14 projects in Plainview. Watson said the attitudes and work ethic of the students involved was of no surprise.
“From what I gathered talking to other group leaders it was like that everywhere,” Watson said. “Wayland just kicked in and went to work.”