In honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s mission to spread kindness and give back to the community, a large group of volunteers consisting of Residence Life, sisters and other student participants congregated in the Greensburg Room at 9 a.m on Feb. 4 to enjoy a continental breakfast of fresh fruit, donuts and coffee before heading out to Take the Day On.
Seen off with a prayer led by Reverend David VonSchlicten, who wished them success, safety and the warmth gained from giving back, the varied crowd separated to provide their services at eight different locations in Greensburg.
The places the group of SHU volunteers provided service to included Caritas Christi, Christian Layman Corps Thrift Store, Greater Parkview Church, Habitat for Humanity, St. Emma’s Monastery, St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store, Welcome Home Shelter and the Westmoreland County Food Pantry
“All we did was wash windows, but that actually is very helpful. St. Emma’s Bed & Breakfast is maintained entirely through volunteer service, so by washing the windows, we made that one less thing that needed to be done by the other volunteers,” said junior and Resident Assistant (RA) Mariah Rettenmeier, who volunteered at St Emma’s Monastery.
Rettenmeier has always enjoyed getting involved in SHU’s days of service. “I’m from out of state, so volunteering in the Greensburg community is a fun chance to get out into the town and a nice way to serve others.”
Participating in Take the Day On is a mandatory step in the RA application process. When Rettenmeier reflected on her volunteer experience as an RA applicant, she realized that the team work involved in volunteering is helpful because “team work and helping others is a big part of being an RA.”
“I was grateful to provide my service to the church that helps the community. It may seem like a small task but it has powerful results, and I felt the results whenever the supervisor at the church shook my hand with great appreciation and a big smile when we were done providing service,” said junior and RA Bovey Masiole, who volunteered at the Greater Parkview Church.
The large effects that the smallest acts of service can have on a community seems to be something that everyone took away from their Take the Day On experiences. Masiole’s advice to RA applicants involved is to take advantage of what you’ve learned because “the day of service provides a glimpse of the future journey of wholeheartedly serving and helping the Seton Hill community and most importantly the whole world.”
Junior and RA applicant Ericson Browne understands the value of volunteering that Rettenmeier and Masiole recognize above. His involvement was clearly in the spirit of MLK as he spread diversity and companionship to the sisters of Caritas Christi.
“My experience at Caritas Christi was exciting and fun. The Sisters told me many of the stories of their lives. While talking with them I also shared with them some of my Virgin Islands culture. I even promised them I’d be back to show them some pictures of the Virgin Islands,” said Browne.
Browne realized the benefits of his interactions and is eager to volunteer again. “Martin Luther King Jr. always encouraged people to volunteer and help people no matter the race, color of their skin or social class and I felt I did that. Hopefully, next semester I can do the same thing again.”