While most students spend their Saturday mornings catching up on sleep, Oaks and Stratford residents spent their morning serving the Bourbonnais community on November 11.
What was originally intended to be a 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. volunteering time, turned into a five-hour service day. About twenty residents from the Oaks and Stratford apartments came together and raked leaves for Bourbonnais residents and talked to the families they were serving.
Junior Oaks resident assistant, Jenna George, started the event last year.
“It kind of started as me thinking about events I could do for my building, and then it turned into, ‘What if I did a creating community for Oaks for the community’?” George said.
George went out to 75 houses in the community with flyers, knocking on doors and talking with residents, asking them if there were ways Olivet students could serve them through gardening activities. She knew that some people in the community work for Olivet, so this could be a good way to serve them and say thank you for their contribution to the school.
The 20 resident volunteers met in The Oaks Treehouse and were split into groups. Each group received a notecard of which houses they would be servicing. Multiple houses were open to Olivet students helping them with yard work, so they were not able to finish all the work for 75 houses. A smaller group of residents continued the work on November 18.
The day of service allowed Olivet students to build relationships in the surrounding community. Oaks resident, junior, Olivia Shank, participated in the day of service and got a job walking the dog for one of the community members she served.
“They were really appreciative. People served us hot cider and talked with us. It was cool that they were really welcoming,” Shank said.
George wants the day of service to become an annual event and hopes to get the Grand apartments and other residence halls involved in future days of service. She would like to hand out flyers to all the resident directors and resident assistants, so that as many students as possible can participate. For the winter, she hopes Olivet students will be able to shovel driveways. George would also love to do work in the Kankakee State Park.
“So many people go there. We should be cleaning up garbage, especially after winter. I would love for the whole campus to be involved,” George said.
To George, service is a simple action with a great impact. Serving people builds community for those who volunteer and those who receive the service. Shank realized the power of serving as one of her professors asked her class, “If Olivet disappeared, would anyone in the community notice?” It reminded her how important it is to leave an impact with Olivet and the Lord’s name on her work. For Stratford resident, junior, Cory Kucey, it is important to build a bridge between Olivet and its surrounding community.
“I know that many in the community have mixed feelings about both Jesus and Olivet, and I wanted to be a face of both to people in the community,” Kucey said.
Keep an eye out for more days of service next semester on the class Olivet Facebook pages.