Community College + Community Service = Community Citizenry
By Beryl Pettiford
The first, and hopefully bi- annual "Wyvern Day of Service” took place on Saturday, September 20. It was simply amazing to see so many students and faculty ready to roll up their sleeves in preparation to take on the various assignments of this community service event. After a refreshing brown bag nourishing breakfast, we boarded our chariot of good will and each group was dropped off at a different location throughout Worcester to take on the responsibility as true Wyverns.
As QCC students we may be familiar with our surrounding areas of Burncoat and West Boylston Streets; however we had the opportunity to be driven across town to Centro Las Americas which is a Non-Profit Latino Organization that helps children and families. Another site, Alternatives Unlimited, offers a community life style for folks with disabilities by providing them with real homes, real jobs and real relationships. Other Wyverns were dropped off at the “Bridge” where a 5k running/walking race was being held to bring Heart Healthy Awareness. The Boys and Girls Club was another stop where services where needed to clean the building and grounds for the following Monday’s usage. Closer to home was the Restore, Habitat for Humanity where we were able to participate in unloading and moving a huge wooden playhouse donated for a little girl whose veteran father had lost his leg. At each stop QCC Dean of Students Liz Woods gave us a brief history of the particular organization to familiarize us with their needs.
Most of us missed Dean Woods from March of this year until her return to QCC in August. That was because she had taken a “sabbatical” to research the topic of college community service ideas and citizenry. She spent part of her time designing a manual that explains how to apply the organization skills to establish consistent and well managed community service for QCC.
Following the ‘’ Wyvern Day of Service” I had the pleasure of interviewing Dean Woods who always has a smile on her face. I think her secret to the smile and sparkle in her eyes is the enormous, giving heart that she has. The sincere joy of helping others won her “The Lion’s Club Award,” which is awarded for Social Service activity. This award was given to her in high school, and this is when her journey of community service and volunteering began.
Dean Woods was kind enough to explain to me the history of the Wyvern. This mythical creature guarded and protected Worcester, England, and was responsible for the citizenry of the community. For this first Wyvern Day of Service she contacted several social service agencies and found five organizations that needed our help.
When we returned to the QCC campus, there was a delicious taco lunch with all the “fix-ins” ready for us. As we sat down to eat together students and staff became a family, sharing the experiences of the sweat and the adrenaline of a good hard day’s work. Dean Woods even invited the bus driver to join us for lunch, and the leftovers were offered to the men and women who were diligently working to clean our own campus.
During lunch we were able to continue the conversations that we had begun with each other on our bus trip. We had awesome conversations about our club experiences, future goals, and our excitement to be part of such an inspiring event. The Dean would like to use this kind of opportunity for social service as a way to reach out to new students, perhaps engaging in community service before the semester begins as a way to meet already enrolled students, and form a kinship to our community college and the surrounding communities. She also believes that retention within QCC would become more solid if the students and faculty participated in events such as this one, working together, side by side building relationships. Imagine the feeling of being able to walk into a Dean’s Office just to visit, chat, and discuss your needs here at QCC, because you were able to build a rapport while committing to be a Wyvern.
From the testimonies, it is obvious how thankful we are to Dean Woods for putting this event together, and we eagerly anticipate the next opportunity to serve this community. In the meantime Dean Woods is preparing to fly off to Haiti this coming January to aid this third world country with volunteers assisting with medical needs. In the future she hopes students studying in the medical field will be able to have hands on experiences in other third world countries as part of their course study with partial, if not all funding from financial aid.
In closing, I must say Dean Woods expressed several times over, that she wants no credit for establishing these types of social service events, and that her manual will guide other staff, faculty and students on how to carry out these services for many years to come. She is humble, kind, and sincere and we are fortunate to witness and work beside the example of a TRUE WYVERN!
- ReStore…Where we end up some days.
- ReStore…Fast paced
- ReStore…Fast paced and for a good cause, the ReStore was an enriching environment to work in, and my only regret was not having more time to help thee cause on this occasion.
- I went in the community today; I volunteered to help at the Bridge. They put together a fun filled day, with people walking and running a 5k race. The race was for Heart Healthy Awareness. The Bridge has different communities that came together for the cause and each committee sold goods or gave out pamphlets filled with informational material. Has a great time helping and cheering the runners.
- I had a great time helping out at the Boys and Girls Club. I hope more students, staff and faculty get involved in the Day of Service. Thank you Liz for putting this together.
- I met a lot of interesting people and learned about a field I may want to explore.
- Today we had a wonderful experience helping out the folks at ReStore. I say we because I learned a lot from each of my fellow volunteers, and it wouldn’t have been so productive and enjoyable without them. All the workers at ReStore showed gratitude and welcomed us back to help. I’d say I made a lot of great connections and met some great people in our short time of service.
- I had so much fun and got much experience about community service. Feeling helpful to become volunteer.
- I helped with project playhouse at ReStore, Habitat for Humanity. This involved unloading and moving donated treehouse/playhouse parts for a later reconstruction at a recipient’s home. Recipients of the playhouses, which are fully free of charge including assembly, are children of USA service members. Melissa, who works there, was really great.
- ReStore is a great place to volunteer. Had a wonderful time and the group was great. Thanks for a wonderful time.
- We have no idea how the society needs our service always. Working (volunteering) at the ReStore humanities today was awesome – meeting new friends, sharing our experiences and working together as a team was so great. Loved it and can’t wait to embark on another volunteering service.
- I was given the opportunity to go to Alternatives but hearing that the Boys/Girls Club was on the list I switched. I was hoping to work with children cooking for them or doing activities but when I arrived there were no children. Being somewhat disappointed I wanted to go home from there but decided to stay. They were giving us yard work but I asked to work inside. I vacuumed for 2 hours straight and all the time thinking I’m giving the children a clean place to come to when they show up on Monday. So I stopped complaining and vacuumed away. (my back was killing me, but it was ok!)
- First of all anything for QCC! I was impressed with the turn out of my team PSI Beta – but as a family impressed with the QCC students to come out on a Saturday morning and show the community that we have hearts and souls! To be able to help at the ReStore (a place I’ve passed a zillion times) was really inspiring. From the bus ride (sharing club ideas) to the actual work it felt great to help! Hoping more students will join in so everyone will know what a great college this is!
- I had a great morning with a lot of wonderful people in the volunteer team. I will do more activity like this in the future, it’s a very good experience I’ve every had.