8/31/2007 - Judson Students Take To The Streets For 'Marion Matters'
Judson College students participated in their 3rd annual "Marion Matters" Aug. 24, a community-wide service blitz that culminated the college's Welcome Week for its 170th academic session.
“The main purposes of Marion Matters are to encourage the new students to get involved in the community and to set the tone for service-learning," said Susan Jones, Judson's director of faith-based service and learning. "The freshmen get a new interaction that they don’t get inside a classroom. And it helps out the community.”
Projects included creating a bulletin board at the Marion Public Library, making care packages for elderly shut-ins, sorting donated medical supplies for Sowing Seeds of Hope and updating contact information for local businesses and organizations at the Perry County Chamber of Commerce. Other service sites included Marion Academy, Albert Turner Elementary School, Lincoln School, Perry County Historical Society, Perry Lakes Park, Perry County Nursing Home, Southland Nursing Home, CrossTies, Siloam Baptist Church and Francis Marion High School.
Student involvement exceeded Jones’ expectations. She prepared for 84 new students to work at the various places, plus a handful of returning students. However, there were some 90 new students and at least 35 returning students who participated.
“I feel like it went well. It was a meaningful experience for our students, which is exciting to me," Jones said. "It’s a great start-of-the-year for the office of faith-based service and learning. It was also really great to see how excited the students were."
A number of students said they were touched by how they had been able to help others. Anna McCray, a freshman from Tuscaloosa, realized how important community service is when she walked into a classroom at Turner Elementary and felt welcomed by the students.
“It was very exciting that the kids were so glad to see us. It was very touching that they knew who we were when we walked through the door,” McCray said. “I'd encourage people to volunteer to work at that school. You can touch kids’ lives and they most likely will remember that for the rest of their lives.”
Courtney Elmore, also a Tuscaloosa freshman, visited Turner Elementary and helped supervise a P.E. class and taught children about numbers and writing.
“I enjoyed being able to further the kingdom of Christ by helping teachers at Albert Turner Elementary," Elmore said.
The office of faith-based service and learning plans to organize computer training programs at Marion Public Library and to start a backyard Bible club activity and a financial literacy program.
“We’re also hoping to have more involvement with the schools,” Jones said.
Judson president Dr. David Potts thanked the students for their work at the wrap-up session at the Marion Depot. "Today you were the hands and feet of Christ," he said. "God cares deeply about every one of the people you met today and he cares very deeply about each of you as well."