Living out Bluffton’s value of service

Many of us have heard of organizations or events needing volunteers, yet why do so many of us still not take the time out of our busy lives to stop and serve others? After all, one of Bluffton University’s core values is service.

It seems that we feel we are so busy and cannot add another thing to our schedules, but there are so many opportunities locally to serve. Even volunteering once a month somewhere can be helpful.

Photo courtesy Hannah Brown

One place that is always taking volunteers is Maple Crest Senior Living Village. Maple Crest is located just past the nature preserve. Some regular needs for Maple Crest are volunteers to be bingo callers Wednesdays from 3:30-4:30 p.m. and Fridays 7-8 p.m. Some upcoming events that volunteers are needed for are the “Valentine Gala” on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 2:30 p.m. and the “Soup Cook-Off” on Thursday, March 8 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. If you are interested in volunteering there, reach out to Debbie Mohr by email at dmohr@mhcoliving.org.

Randy Keeler, associate dean of academic affairs, said that his mother-in-law lives at Maple Crest.

“Younger people bring energy to the place and the residents love to talk and tell their stories,” said Keeler. “Some of them get very few visitors, so seeing a new face makes their day!”

Another place that could use volunteers locally is the Bluffton Public Library. Their website gives a long list of various activities for which they could use volunteers, such as tech tutoring, sorting and filing and helping with storytime and other youth programs. You can find the full list here: http://blufftonpubliclibrary.org/volunteer.

Photo courtesy Hannah Brown

If you have more questions you can reach out to Lauren Canaday, their Public Services Coordinator, at canaday@blufftonpubliclibrary.org, who happens to be a Bluffton University alumna.

Stephen “Tig” Intagliata, campus pastor, gave his opinion on students volunteering.

“I think it’s important for students at Bluffton to volunteer in serving others because service is a concrete way of sharing God’s love with those who need a helping hand,” said Intagliata. “All that we have–our time, our talents and our passions–are a gift from God to be shared with others.”

“Through service to others we are living the way of Jesus, who himself ‘took the very nature of a servant’ with his own life (Philippians 2:7) and who taught his followers that true greatness comes through servanthood.”

One place Intagliata recommended for volunteering is the Et Cetera Thrift Shop. They need volunteers to sort items, price items or work the cashier’s station. Contact them at 419-358-4201 to set up volunteering.

Fliers for Habitat for Humanity in Lima have been posted around campus, as well. They have the Habitat ReStore Floor Project coming up, which includes carrying and organizing inventory. The two days mentioned are Saturday, Feb. 17 8 a.m. to noon, 1-5 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 24, 8 a.m. to noon, 1-5 p.m., while providing lunch after whichever shift you work. To learn more about this program, contact Mark Suderman at mark@habitatlima.org.

Photo courtesy Hannah Brown

Bluffton’s service club, SERVE, is going together to the Habitat for Humanity workday on Feb. 24 for the 1-5 p.m. shift. SERVE is spending the upcoming spring break (March 3-9) service trip in the Columbus and Cincinnati areas to volunteer at food pantries and disaster relief facilities. The trip is low cost but limited seats available and those interested should sign up by Feb. 16. SERVE also volunteers together monthly at City Mission of Findlay where they help prepare and serve food to the residents of the mission and the community members of Findlay.

Hannah Brown ‘19, co-president of SERVE, described how her involvement with service has impacted her life.

“SERVE really opened my eyes to what little things we can do to really make a large difference in our community,” said Brown. “Being involved in SERVE has also allowed me to grow in my faith by asking myself what Jesus would do within each service trip we dive into.”

You can contact Brown at brohla@bluffton.edu or her co-president Emily Rush at ruseja@bluffton.edu if you have more questions about SERVE.

Another place to spend extra time is the Juvenile Detention Center in Lima. To learn more about how to get started, contact Diane Neal at neald@bluffton.edu.

Takayla Gadberry, a sophomore psychology major, volunteered as a reading tutor and mentor last semester. She explained that those who are mentors receive binders to help guide the volunteer through the process.

“It was an amazing experience but definitely challenging,” said Gadberry. “I worked with kids who were extremely willing to work and kids who wanted nothing to do with the program.”

Photo courtesy Hannah Brown

As you read over these various opportunities, I hope that you consider one and give it a try. There’s always ways to donate money, but there’s also so many ways to give your time and help to those who need it.

Editor’s notes: Author Kiera Suffel spends her Wednesday afternoons as a bingo caller at Maple Crest Senior Living Village. The Valentine Gala was previously reported to be on Feb. 6, but the correct date is Feb. 13.

About the author

Kiera Suffel

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