‘Southeast Serves’ Affords Students Opportunity to Thank Community

community-serviceCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., March 6, 2014 – Mollie Laramore, a Southeast Missouri State University senior from Chester, Ill., plans to roll up her sleeves and give back to the community during “Southeast Serves” April 2-5.

“It’s going to be a big hit,” she said. “I love to volunteer. Southeast Serves has really tried to get a variety of projects that appeal to different students so you can choose what’s good for you.”

The four-day program will allow students to thank the Cape Girardeau community for their years of continuous support.

Laramore says she plans to be a site coordinator and will go wherever she is needed. The biology/biomedical sciences student who recently has been accepted into the University of Illinois Medical School says service is a way of life for her. She is currently the service vice president for Gamma Sigma Sigma, has been a youth soccer coach and has helped with the City of Cape Girardeau’s annual Easter egg hunt.

She says Southeast Serves is nice for students who want to serve but do not know how to find service opportunities.  It will also allow students “to get to know other people who like service as well,” she said.

Volunteer opportunities will be available in 90-minute to two-hours shifts both on- and off-campus throughout the four-day period. Students may volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, New Student Programs, Chateau Girardeau, Truck to Table, the Missouri Department of Conservation Nature Center, Safe House for Women, Horizon Center, CASA, Cape Senior Center, the Humane Society, MODOT, Boys & Girls Club,  Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary, Missouri Veterans Home, MDA, Empty Bowls/Salvation Army, University School for Young Children, Cape Splash, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Messy Mornings, the Missouri Child Identification Program (MoCHIP) event and Trail of Tears State Park.

Students wishing to participate are asked to register beginning today through Friday, March 14, at http://www.semo.edu/campuslife/southeast_serves.htm.

Community Service 2“We have decided to put an emphasis on service,” said Michele Irby, director of Campus Life. “We want to say thank you to the community for the opportunities afforded to our students throughout the calendar year.”

All students who volunteer will receive a T-shirt to wear at their work site.

Megan Johnson, a graduate assistant for student engagement helping plan “Southeast Serves,” said the variety of service opportunities allows students to choose a project that interests them.

Several organizations need help with outdoor work in preparation for the spring and summer seasons. At the Missouri Department of Conservation Nature Center, the Missouri Veterans Home and the Safe House for Women, volunteers will do yard work. Chateau Girardeau volunteers will rake leaves and clean flower beds along the Wildflower Trail. Volunteers also will help with yard work and clean gutters at the Safe House for Women, and students will rake mulch and clean plant beds at the Cape Senior Center. Those who assist at Cape Splash will help clean patio furniture, set out umbrellas, and clean up plant beds in preparation for the summer season. Students who assist MODOT will clean adopted sections of highways, and Habitat for Humanity needs volunteers to help landscape a recently finished Habitat home.

A couple of options are available for animal lovers. The Humane Society offers opportunities to walk dogs and socialize cats. At Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary, volunteers will help clean the facility to ensure the animals have a good temporary home.

Those who volunteer with CASA will stuff packets in preparation for the Superhero Duathlon & 5K. MDA needs assistance with registration and refreshments at West Park Mall for the MDA Cape Walk.

Boys & Girls Club needs volunteers to help local children with homework and after school activities. Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteers will help set up, run, and clean up a Big Brothers Big Sisters carnival event fun night.

Those who sign up to volunteer with Empty Bowls will paint ceramic bowls to help the Salvation Army prepare for their annual Empty Bowls fundraiser. Students also are needed to help with the Truck to Table food bank that distributes food to local families. Students will bag groceries for about 300 needy families at this event sponsored by Gamma Sigma Sigma and Alpha Xi Delta.

“We’ve got some really exciting things going on,” Irby said. “Community service is a great way to meet new friends and make wonderful memories. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

On-campus service opportunities also are available for students without transportation who wish to participate. Several campus beautification projects need volunteers who will work under the supervision of Facilities Management, Johnson said. New Student Programs needs help stuffing packets and the University School for Young Children needs helping cleaning their playground, raking mulch and organizing a closet. The Horizons Center needs assistance with craft projects.

Johnson said several service opportunities are available on Saturday, April 5, for students whose schedules only permit weekend work. Students may volunteer with Messy Mornings, the MoCHIP event or at Trail of Tears State Park.

Messy Morning is an annual event at the Show Me Center designed to strengthen families by helping parents see the importance of allowing their children to learn while having fun. Agencies throughout the community collaborate to sponsor the event. Volunteers are needed to set up and clean up the event.

The MOCHIP event will be held at the same time as Messy Morning at the Show Me Center and will provide parents with Amber Alert compatible information that law enforcement would need if their child was missing. Volunteers will help with gathering children’s fingerprints, photographs and a dental bite impression that provides a DNA sample.

At Trail of Tears State Park, volunteers will use backpack blowers to remove leaves, rake leaves, pick up trash and remove limbs at the Lake Boutin Campground. Volunteers also will pick up trash along Highway 177 from the park’s north and south entrances and at the Mississippi River boat launch area between the river and railroad tracks.

Southeast Serves will come to a close with an ice cream social for all volunteers at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 5, in the University Center Terrace & Skylight Terrace to celebrate their hard work.

Registration for Southeast Serves is available at http://www.semo.edu/campuslife/southeast_serves.htm. For more information, contact Johnson at mnjohnson2s@semo.edu.