BELTON—Between looming storm clouds, plenty of mud and even several flat tires on wheelbarrows, nothing stopped University of Mary Hardin-Baylor students from reaching out to their community. More than 200 students participated in UMHB’s recent Reaching Out community service program.
“As Christians, we’re called to serve,” UMHB junior Hallie Jacobson said. “It’s really important to focus off yourself and on others—and it’s fun.”
“Even if you have 5,000 things going in a day, you can carve out time to help one person. It really helps others.”
Students scattered through-out the area—from Belton to Temple—constructing Habitat for Humanity homes, organizing food at a Ronald McDonald House and assisting at nursing homes.
One group of volunteers built a playground area for Families in Crisis—a ministry that primarily serves victims of domestic abuse.
“These families have left their abusers, and they are trying to rebuild their lives,” said Tara Stafford, a volunteer with United Way. “The kid’s area right now is tiny—a little closet area.”
But to clear the yard for the playground equipment, it meant a lot of digging, a lot of mud and a lot of team work.
“It’s a lot of hard labor—manual labor,” Stafford said.
Despite a flat tire on his wheelbarrow, UMHB sophomore Zack Polk trudged along with a grin on his face.
For a good cause
“It’s a good feeling,” he said about volunteering. “It really is. I’m not only doing stuff with friends, but it’s also for a good cause.”
While this was Polk’s first involvement in Reaching Out, UMHB freshman Lindsey Weaver is no novice. Even before she attended UMHB, she drove from Waco to volunteer with friends during Reaching Out.
“I really like giving back to the community,” Weaver said. “While at UMHB, you sometimes feel like you’re in a bubble, and this reminds you that there are people outside of it in need.”
Safe place to play
Weaver is thrilled she could do her part to give children a safe place to play.
“They can relax and just be kids,” she said. “And they probably haven’t been able to do that for awhile.”
Stafford was impressed with the students’ hard work.
“It’s hard to find volunteers to do something good just because it’s a good thing, but I think it shows students that there are people right around the corner that may be struggling,” Stafford said.