Shepherd students take a day to volunteer in the community
Students from Shepherd University began their college career by offering a day of volunteer service to 27 nonprofit organizations throughout Jefferson and Berkeley counties. The group of mostly first-year students arrived on campus a week before classes started so they could participate in the 15th annual Day of Service.
The students, along with some faculty and staff, labored at tasks like cleaning, painting and doing yard work at places like Asbury United Methodist Church in Shepherdstown, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, and the Berkeley County Humane Society, where team leader and sophomore Hunter Cutlip cleaned the cat room with a feline friend riding on his shoulders.
Cutlip participated in the Day of Service last year and enjoyed it so much he volunteered again this year as a team leader.
“If you’re new to the area and you’re looking to do these kinds of community service projects, you get the chance,” Cutlip said. “They bring you to these places and let the people who work there tell you here’s what they’re trying to do and here’s how you can help even after this program.”
Heather Phares, a secondary education major from Petersburg helped paint a shed in a pasture at Horses With Hearts, an organization that provides horseback riding for children and adults with special needs. She loves horses, was happy to help out at the farm, and might offer to volunteer there in the future.
“I love to volunteer-I do it back home all the time,” she said. “It gives you a sense of community. Especially growing up it’s something you need to know and you should participate in. More kids need to be doing it at a younger age.”
Sophomore business major Kyle Huffman liked participating in Day of Service so much he volunteered again this year. He was the team leader for a group of three students working at the Habitat for Humanity Restore in Martinsburg.
“It feels great because we’re privileged enough to be able to go to college and it’s great for this orientation program to be able to help freshmen adjust to Shepherd and at the same time show them that Shepherd is more than just a school, it’s a community and it’s giving back to the community,” he said.
Those who run the nonprofits that benefited from the students’ efforts were grateful for the extra help. Chelsea Bowers with the Berkeley County Humane Society said the work done at the facility near Martinsburg definitely helped the animals.
“It just takes a lot of stress off our heads to have everyone come volunteer,” she said.
And Kay Barkwill, Horses With Hearts board of directors president, said the organization is hoping Shepherd students will be able to volunteer there more now that the organization is located in a new home just a few miles away from the university.