Focus on Community/Arts
Chesapeake students put service in learning

Posted on Thursday, April 01, 2010

WYE MILLS – Chesapeake College students this semester are volunteering for a variety of community service projects. Rewards and lessons, the students say, are found in donating their time and talent to charity endeavors.

"Our students have always taken our commitment to the community very seriously," said Dr. Richard Midcap, vice president for student success and enrollment services. "We know that many of our students volunteer on their own, but we´re especially proud of the student groups because they donate their time on the college´s behalf."

One such group is the nursing majors. The Chesapeake College MGW Nursing Program includes community service in the nursing curriculum, and students participate in service activities throughout the year.

"Faculty and students of the Chesapeake College/MGW Nursing Program strongly believe that serving the community is integral to the educational process. Caring for the community is at the heart of nursing, and provides a wonderful way to give back to the counties that so generously support the mission of the college," said Dr. Judith Stetson, director of the nursing program.

Nursing students conducted high blood pressure checks and administered flu shots throughout the five-county service area this year. This winter, a group of nursing students participated in the annual Chesapeake Bay Polar Bear Plunge for the Special Olympics. The group raised more than $2,800 for the cause. The participants were: Arynn Forgan, Courtney Glen, Liz Kinsey, Angela Lord, Elizabeth Lowry, Keli Thuman, Felicia Welch, Teresa Baker, Megan Crew, Helen Foxwell, Suzanne Soistmen, John Wilburt, Elizabeth Muse, and faculty members Dr. Robin Seal-Whitlock and Dr. Stetson.

"I got involved in the plunge because, as a future nurse, I understand the importance of community service and supporting such a worthy cause as the Special Olympics. We had a lot of great participants who decided on their own to take the plunge," said Muse.

The Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society also has a year-long service campaign by member students. President Sharon Cole said the group is collecting used cell phones as part of the national Cell Phones for Soldiers project. This winter the group collected blankets and donated them to a shelter. In addition, members will plant marsh grasses this spring at Pickering Creek Audubon Center and collect trash along Route 50.

Members of the men´s baseball team recently raised funds for the Samaritan House food bank in Denton. In addition to soliciting donations on campus, the players organized a fundraising pancake breakfast at Applebee´s in Easton. The players donated $450 to the Samaritan House.

"We´re thrilled with the donation and impressed with the students. It is wonderful that the players are investing so much energy in helping our efforts. We´re very appreciative," said Claire Fisher, volunteer manager for Samaritan House.

The two organizers, Anthony Ragos of Ridgley and Joe Garrity of Stevensville, also set up collection boxes for non-perishable food items around the Wye Mills campus. They collected items will be donated to the Samaritan House food pantry.

Ragos said his service is inspired by the late Roberto Clemente, a professional baseball player and humanitarian.

"There is a lot of need in the world and collecting food seemed like a straight forward way to help people in this area. The rest of the team has been enthusiastic about this project and they want to do even more," Ragos said.

For the second year, Chesapeake students spent their spring break helping to rebuild hurricane-damaged houses in New Orleans. The eleven students, along with Director of Student Life Rohry Flood, traveled to the Crescent City to spend five days working on Habitat for Humanity building projects. In preparation for their trip, the group worked on Habitat building projects in Easton.

This year´s trip was the second for Max de Arriz of Stevensville, who accompanied the first group in 2009. He said he enjoyed the building project in the devastated Lower 9th Ward even more this year.

"Last year´s experience was so rewarding that I knew I wanted to do it again. I didn´t think it was possible, but I think this year was even better," de Arriz said. "We still saw a lot of hurricane damage in the city on this trip, but we saw more signs of progress this year. It was good to see that things seem to be improving there."

The other students participating in the recent trip were: Yaasmiyn Finlayson, Sam Franke, Sara Jones, Victoria Karkoulis, Erin Kelley, Drexel Nelson, Jessica Newell, Dana Price, Alexandra Protos and Joey Rule.

"I´m so proud of these students. They traveled a long way and worked long hours when many college students just want to take a break," Flood said. "They worked to help others, but I think the students gain so much from these experiences."

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