While returning UIS students were waiting to say their goodbyes to family and friends before coming back to campus this August, fifty-one of their first-year colleagues were already making a difference in the capitol community.
These students built and improved the educational gardens for Ball Charter Elementary as well as assembled a playground for the Springfield Family Service Center through the KaBOOM! project.
Working on the garden at Ball Charter Elementary brought back memories from when I worked on a garden at my high school, explained Mihai Smarandescu, a UIS undergrad, volunteering for the community is one step towards beautification and providing younger students with the opportunity to experience a new area of both learning and fun.
Through this project, students have a tool in learning about how the gardens connect to their real lives, said Nicole Gales, principal of Ball Charter, students learn the importance of giving back to our school community as well as natural life skills. Some of these skills include learning to plant, grow, and eat healthy foods.
As a result of hard work and dedication, the group received more than a thank you, for their services. This service project provided the opportunity for the newly enrolled classmates, to meet local community members, connect with others as well as establish bridges, explained Chanera Pierce, AmeriCorps VISTA.