Four students from Globe University-Eau Claire became involved in a community-wide service-learning project that resembled speed dating. Ashley Muchow, Jamie Edington, Jessica Kistner and Samantha Leis, all enrolled in the Global Citizenship class, found a love for serving in the community through an event called “Spark the Spirit of Giving”.
The Spark the Spirit of Giving night was set up by Roberta Kostka, the City of Eau Claire’s volunteer coordinator. This project was designed to involve many community partners such as Meals on Wheels, Feed My People Food Bank, and Sojourner House Homeless Shelter. This night was an opportunity for the community to come together in one place and help out many different groups in need in a “speed dating” of community service atmosphere.
The following is an interview with our student, Ashley Muchow, who participated in the event:
What did the event “look” like?
Ashley: Stations were set up around the room and people were able to do as many or as few stations as they wished. They could make sandwiches for the hungry, thank you cards for local veterans, fill shoe boxes with household supplies, decorate bags for Meals on Wheels, make treat bags for First Responders, and make fleece blankets for people in need.
Why did you choose this project?
Ashley: I would be lying if I said that I didn’t pick the one-night event for selfish reasons. I am a single mom, and giving up one night on a day that I did not have any children sounded perfect to me. After I chose the project and got to know more about it, I knew that this was going to have a big impact on me and the community. This was an opportunity to help seven different organizations in need in our community in one night.
What were the goals for this project?
Ashley: This was a first event of this kind to be held in Eau Claire, so besides hopeful optimism, we really didn’t know what the turnout would be or how much we would accomplish. We had goals for each station. All the sandwiches and shoe boxes were made within an hour, and supplies ran out in the First Responder bags. We had a goal of making 50 fleece blankets and at the end of the night we had 44 completed.
What did you learn from this experience?
Ashley: I have a deeper understanding of the importance of community and responsibilities as a global citizen, and identifying social issues and community needs locally and globally. Many times, community need is out of sight and out of mind from the normal community, but events like this bring it into the light and allow people to become more educated. They can walk away from the event inspired to do more and be proactive in the community.
Is there anything else you would like others to know?
Ashley: I thoroughly enjoyed the project and would volunteer to do it again in a heartbeat.I saw people eagerly engaging in all the tables, asking questions, and looking for ways to help. I know future events like this one will be a great success.