In the Cleanup Spot

The Muhlenberg softball team recently participated in a pair of community service projects. Junior outfielder Alyssa Schell fills us in:

If you were awake at 8:00am on a recent Sunday morning, you might have seen the softball team convening outside in the ML parking lot. We were all gathering with plans to head over to the 6th Street Shelter in Allentown.

softball at 6th Street Shelter

The 6th Street Shelter is a shelter that specializes in family living. The shelter is unique in doing just that. Instead of dormitory style living, the shelter offers suite style apartments to keep families together during hard times. The hard facts are that 38 percent of those homeless in the Lehigh Valley are children. The shelter combats the dispersing of families and helps set up employment and financial planning for the families that go through the shelter.

shelter cleanupThe team helped clean the property around the shelter. We raked and swept up leaves, cleaned up trash that blew in from that week’s heavy wind, cleaned up the shelter’s playground, pulled weeds and even cleared off a fence covered with dead poison ivy. The team tackled this large task by splitting into groups of twos, where each group focused on a separate section of the perimeter of the shelter.

shelter cleanup

shelter cleanupHaving all my team members rallying together in order to make a difference in the appearance of the shelter was truly heartwarming. Even though raking leaves can seem like something minimal, you could tell that the small deed goes a long way in helping the confidence of the residents at the shelter.

By the end, team members were asking the employees how we could further help the shelter. The shelter does not typically take clothing donations because of the lack of space. However, the shelter does take donations of cleaning supplies and still needs volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering or even learning more about the 6th Street Shelter, go to http://www2.caclv.org.

That Thursday, members of the team assembled and made the trek to Roosevelt Elementary School to participate in their annual Book Blast. One Thursday a month, students and their parents listen to stories and participate in crafts relating to a particular theme. The theme that our team participated was “America and Your Country.”

Our team read and helped with crafts in which the students created their own country where they had to decide their name, national bird, capital, etc. At the end, there was a raffle to determine the student who could take the book we read home.

The team’s combined effort to make an enjoyable experience for these young students was wonderful. Our team was split up again in separate classrooms and I found it very inspiring that in my classroom, the parents were talking to their first- graders and pointing at me saying that one day, if they worked hard enough they could go to college like me. I found that being in the classroom as a college student gave the kids something to strive for.

I know that many volunteers have helped me get to where I am today, and I am glad to give back and possibly help a child progress in their life like someone has done for me.

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