Students, faculty and staff once again took devoted their spring breaks to community service. Five students, accompanied by faculty and staff chaperones, returned for the sixth year to the Franklinton Center at Bricks in Whitakers, N.C., a former slave plantation that once served as a junior college for freed slaves. Today it functions as a justice advocacy center run by the United Church of Christ.
There students learned about the history and lasting effects of slavery in the U.S., worked with local school children on reading and math literacy skills and visited other community organizations in the area. The College’s math club supported this trip by organizing a school supplies drive for schools in North Carolina.
Twenty-four other students volunteered at organizations in Frederick, Baltimore and the Washington, D.C., area. They removed invasive species from Rock Creek in Bethesda, Md.; worked with the fair trade craft market SERRV and the Brethren Disaster Relief Center in New Windsor, Md.; learned about sexual trafficking with the staff at Samaritan Women in Baltimore; worked at Frederick Community Action Agency’s food bank and soup kitchen; and assisted the 4-H Therapeutic Riding Center in Thurmont, Md., prepare for their spring classes.
“I learned a lot during this trip,” said Shanayah Braithwaite, a second-time participant in the ASB Frederick initiative. “Community service allows you to help people and appreciate everyday things that we easily overlook, like having clean waterways and feeling safe in your surroundings.”
Pictured: Hood volunteers assisted the Rock Creek Conservancy invasive species removal team.
Thomas Dasch ’04 stopped by campus yesterday. For the last eight years he has worked as an intake coordinator and lead counselor for Frederick Institute, a methadone treatment program serving those who suffer from addictions. He is often the first point of contact for people who are seeking help from the facility. He recently coordinated an open house for more than 100 doctors and treatment providers to learn more about the facility and the care it provides. In addition, he dedicates himself to sharing his expertise about addiction with the community through the Overdose Prevention Workgroup, which is focused on reducing the rates of overdose deaths in Frederick County.
Thomas has found a great way to give back to his community, something we know is not only part of who he is but also influenced by his experiences at Hood!
While we all talk about giving back to our communities, Professor Drew Ferrier has gone to great lengths to do so. For years he has directed his research on the ecology of aquatic systems from the Chesapeake Bay to South Florida and the Caribbean. He regularly gives students and his classes opportunities to assist him, including a study last year to help Frederick city combat the persistent algae in Carroll Creek.
Now Professor Ferrier has taken giving back one step further. He was instrumental in launching Hood’s Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies in March, which focuses on understanding the origin and possible solutions to environmental and social issues that affect the coastlines and watersheds of our region. The center also trains local K-12 science teachers in the latest environmental initiatives to bring to their classrooms. Recently, the center was awarded a very prestigious $35,000 grant from the Dominion Higher Education Partnership that in part will allow 55 students to participate in expanded classroom instruction on geographic information system technology and two field and research opportunities designed to assist in efforts to improve the quality of water in Frederick.
Professor Ferrier is just one of many faculty, staff and students who strive to make Frederick a better place to live.
For a number of years, Hood College students have participated in One Day Without Shoes, an event designed to create awareness about world poverty and the things we take for granted—shoes and sight. Toms, an organization committed to helping those in need, and its eight international organization partners team up each year for this fun, yet meaningful event. And throughout the year, with every shoe or eyeware product purchased from Toms, the organization donates a like item to individuals who can’t afford them.
Hood students joined thousands of students on campuses across the country who are concerned about world poverty. Even though the music was blasting on the Whitaker Campus Center patio, the mission was serious. The pile of donated shoes, which grew throughout the afternoon, made a clear statement: Hood students care and are committed to service and helping those less fortunate.
Students in Tim Jacobsen’s photojournalism class recorded the day’s events, which can be viewed on YouTube.
So what does one do when the sky is blue, the temperature hits 75 degrees and the shorts are begging to be pulled out of storage? Plant flowers, of course! Students gathered one warm afternoon before exams to help enhance the already beautiful campus with colorful annuals. Organized by the facilities department, the activity attracted a number of students, including senior Elaheh Eghbal and sophomore Travis Gilbert, who gladly volunteered to take a break from their studies to dig in the dirt, spread around some mulch and plant red petunias around the Pergola on the residential quad. Even President Volpe, known to never let an opportunity to work side by side with students pass him by, joined in the fun and got his hands dirty.
By the time commencement rolls around in a few days, the beds will be in full bloom, adding a spectacular display of color to the center of campus.
Students have just returned from spring break and many, along with Hood faculty, staff and alumni, spent their time making a difference for hundreds of people in Alabama, Frederick and Haiti.
In Haiti, five students were joined by Michael Coon, assistant professor of economics; Provost Kate Conway-Turner and her daughter Jameela; and Frederick dentist and 1981 alumnus Peter Cha and his wife, Sandy, a dental hygienist, who provided much needed dental services to 94 Haitians, many of whom had never been to a dentist! Read the Frederick News Post’s story about how the Chas have made a difference for people in need in Haiti and in other communities.
Hood students—Drake Halpern, Elaheh Eghbal, Jessica Morales, Greg Eyler and Fabiola Jean-Louis—spent the week learning about this complex and struggling country, and engaged in service projects to aid the residents of Borgne, a mountainous community in the northern part of the island nation where the majority of families are scattered in clusters within the mountains that surround the city. They painted a mural for an elementary classroom, engaged in an enrichment project for children in an early education program, traveled into the mountains to help set up a mobile clinic and visited a number of sites to observe how residents cope with poor roads, few jobs, inadequate fresh water, no electricity and a host of social issues.
An eye-opening experience, to be sure.