Grahl Center students volunteer more than 1,000 hours in fall

KCC students from the SERV 200 class with instructor Ann Lown.

KCC students from the SERV 200 class with instructor Ann Lown.

Students in the first-ever SERV 200 service learning course offered at Kellogg Community College’s Grahl Center in Coldwater served a combined total of 1,019 hours of community service during their fall semester.

As part of the course, 23 students each designed a 20-hour project to be implemented at a local nonprofit of their choice. Course instructor Ann Lown said the class was an awesome challenge for students and a great way to make a difference in Branch County.

“Think of the impact these students have made,” Lown said. “I’m blown away by all the ways they have served the community.”

Student projects included a fundraiser for the Humane Society of Branch County; a Christmas gift fundraiser and event for the Branch County Coalition Against Domestic Violence; a flag football event to raise funds for and awareness of causes related to cystic fibrosis; a bake sale for the Bronson Public Library; a medicine disposal event held in conjunction with the Michigan State Police; the creation of a website for Family Promise of Branch County; the production of care packages for troops in Africa; a healthy meal event for parents; several activities and events held for Beginnings Care for Life Center; increased awareness of the Habitat for Humanity ReStore; math tutoring in local schools; gift wrapping at an Eby-Klein Youth and Family Center event; and a cancer awareness event.

Course organizers said many of the students far exceeded their 20-hour service requirement for the course and that many plan to continue working with the organization they chose after the class has ended.

Josh Englehart, a student in the course, said during his final presentation that he plans to continue the cystic fibrosis fundraiser he completed for the course annually.

“I have the ability to give back and use my abilities to round up more support and awareness for cystic fibrosis,” Englehart said. “Next year my goal is to raise $10,000.”

An expanded service learning initiative that began at KCC this fall requires every student pursuing an associate degree outside of the applied sciences to complete 15 hours of service learning in a course with a service-learning certified faculty member or to complete 24 hours of service learning as part of SERV 200.

The course will be offered at the Grahl Center again this spring, with classes beginning on Jan. 25. Organizations interested in participating with KCC students in future service learning projects are encouraged to contact Grahl Center Director Bobbi Gagnon at 517-278-3300.

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