Students Show Gratitude to Community through ‘Southeast Serves’

Southeast ServesCAPE GIRARDEAU, Missouri, April 6, 2015 – Southeast Missouri State University students are preparing to show their appreciation for the support the Cape Girardeau community gives through a week-long community service initiative entitled Southeast Serves April 8-11.

“It is very exciting to see so many people conducting community service out of their own intentions and desire to make a change,” said Tanya Kucher, Graduate Assistant for Campus Life and Event Services.

Volunteer opportunities will be available in 90-minute to three-hour shifts both on- and off-campus throughout the four-day period. Students may volunteer with SEMO Food Bank, First Presbyterian Church, Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation Department, Cape Girardeau Public Library, University School for Young Children, Salvation Army – Empty Bowls Project, Chateau Girardeau, Missouri Department of Conversation, Cape Senior Center, Horizon Center, Puppies in the Courtyard of Dearmont Hall, Jefferson Elementary School, The Glenn House and the Walk With Me event.

“Southeast Serves allows students the opportunity to do things they might not normally do, meet people they might not normally meet, and learn things about themselves and the community that they may not know,” said Joanna Shaver, coordinator of campus programming. “This new-found knowledge could lead to something more – a new passion for helping others.  Southeast Serves is a time to reflect on what we have and how giving back makes a difference to someone in need.  Service is not always glamourous, but even sweeping dust at a day care or clearing trails at the Nature Center can make a difference in people’s lives.  When you hear a call for help, answer it.  Our students should understand that there’s so much to be thankful for in life, and helping others reinforces how lucky we actually are.”

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

Several organizations need help with outdoor work in preparation for the spring and summer seasons. At the Missouri Department of Conservation, volunteers are needed to spread mulch, stain bridges and remove invasive species from walking trails. Chateau Girardeau volunteers will help clean walking trails as well. Volunteers working with the Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation Department will be responsible for seasonal preparation of the Cape Splash Family Aquatic Center. Those assisting the University School for Young Children will be responsible for playground cleanup. WalkWith Me volunteers will assist with event set-up, tear-down, registration and runner directions among other duties.

First Presbyterian Church will host many of the service opportunities. Volunteers will participate in cleanup projects and set-up of the church’s rummage sale, which benefits the Amen Center in Delta, Missouri.

Those looking to volunteer also will have the opportunity with the SEMO Food Bank to help fill boxes of food to help feed those in need. Students can also volunteer to paint ceramic bowls for the annual Empty Bowls fund raiser held by the Salvation Army. Horizons Enrichment Center volunteers will work with developmentally disabled adults on various projects.

The Glenn House will offer volunteers the chance to help with exhibit preparation and museum cleaning.

Jefferson Elementary School volunteers will assist with set-up for an indoor yard sale and with repainting a U.S. map. Students looking to volunteer on campus can assist with making dog and cat toys for Puppies in the Courtyard of Dearmont Hall.

“Besides helping their community and enjoying it, students make new friends and get more socialized at college,” said Kucher. “It is especially important for the freshmen who are looking for ways to get involved with student life. They often struggle to be ‘accepted’ to the University community, and it makes me so happy to see that many of them find what they  were here for with Southeast Serves – new friends, self-confidence and the feeling of accomplishment from helping people in need.”

Students wishing to participate are asked to register at http://semo.edu/campuslife/southeast_serves.