Service Day was a chance for all Wesleyan students to get out and make a difference for others. Wesleyan students are incredibly fortunate to work at a school with such a dedicated staff and facilities crew, and the students were excited to be able to give back.
The first of a planned series of annual Service Days offered many opportunities to serve. Omicron Service Society Director Nathan Emmelhainz said, “[Service Day first came to fruition when] Kelsey Rappe came up with the idea (she remembered both 8th grade service day, and the HS service day that her older siblings did years ago). 5-10 years ago there was an annual service day that was a day of no classes for the whole high school. This was changed with an intent to have service always be voluntary – rather than compulsory. This year’s event was entirely voluntary, and was sufficiently successful that we will try it again next year. It will remain voluntary – as an option on PSAT day.”
After choosing a project on Sign-Up Genius, students volunteered to serve in multiple locations and partnered with different organizations. For the senior-only projects, the opportunities offered were working at the Clarkston Garden, volunteering at the Clarkston Refugee Pre-School, working with the Lawrenceville Cooperative Ministry and assembling Hurricane Buckets. The students traveling to off-campus events met at Wesleyan at 9 a.m. and filed into mini buses to leave around 9:30. However, students who signed up to create Hurricane Buckets stayed at Wesleyan from 1-3 p.m.
Making Hurricane Buckets consisted of buying supplies and filling buckets to give to the local charity United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) disaster relief group. UMCOR is a non-profit organization that provides relief in five ways: hunger, health, refugees, emergencies and relief supplies. Wesleyan students worked with UMCOR so that the buckets made were distributed to families who have been affected by the recent hurricanes and natural disasters, especially for the damage that Hurricane Harvey caused in Texas.
At the Clarkston Garden, seniors were greeted by the garden staff where they were shown different activities they needed help to complete. Students helped clear vegetation and shoveled mulch to create a new parking lot. They then ate lunch, where they discussed all they had seen, specifically the situational circumstances with the refugees and the other people there. Senior Madeline Benfield said, “I signed up for this project because I had been to the garden before with the Atlanta mission trip. I loved working in the garden and indirectly creating a positive impact for Clarkston.”
Other projects that were not reserved for seniors only allowed freshmen through juniors to join their fellow seniors in helping serve the community. Three other volunteer opportunities took place on Wesleyan’s campus from 1-3 p.m. Mercy Care met in Hoover Gym with 75 volunteers. There, they helped prepare care items and prepped them to be distributed in Atlanta, to families in need. Items like toothbrushes, toothpaste and razors were placed into care packages.
Another group met on campus for a more artistic craft, making teddy bears. Groups made and prepared bears for gifts on mission trips. “We cut out fabric in the shape of teddy bears and then proceeded to sew from scratch our own teddy bears to give to children during the mission trips,” said junior Esther Williams. Students from each grade gathered to help sew teddy bears. Williams said her favorite part about the event was “the fact that we made teddy bears that were all unique and individual-no two the same! I even made some more when I got home.” With help from these service projects and the students willing to serve, an impact was made not only at Wesleyan, but in the surrounding community as well.