. .Four members of the Service Squad visited Unity House on April 23rd. President and founder Kelly Barber was joined by club officers Rachelanne Vander Werf, Summer Nay, and Zeidy Candelario. The squad has forty-four members in all who join together to complete a variety of local and regional service projects. Community-Based Learning coordinator Jen Olin is the club's advisor.
Kelly saw a need for the squad when flooding from Hurricane Irene devastated areas of New England. She says her service ethic may have developed during her freshman experience at Unity College in the Neighbor Warming Neighbor project and she got that warm, fuzzy "I'm a volunteer" feeling, which was enhanced during her Alternative Spring Break trip..
Kelly is graduating this year, and she is sad to leave her baby -- the Service Squad -- behind. Luckily, she has highly motivated colleagues who will carry on the work. Summer will work to expand options for volunteering; Zeidy will work toward a Dean's Cup event for service to promote volunteerism on campus; Rachelanne will help students "find their fit." The list of service opportunities is long: Unity Barn Raisers, Addie's Attic Clothing Bank, Volunteer Regional Food Pantry, and Avian Haven are just a few in the region. Get involved -- and who knows, you might get some cookies!
Now, Kelly's motive for engaging in volunteer work is "not for me to feel good, but to insure people are in a better place when I've left." Rachelanne likes to keep busy -- and she likes putting a smile on other people's faces. Summer and Zeidy both worked as volunteers during high school; for Summer, that early experience "made me feel appreciated." For Zeidy, volunteering is something of a family tradition; her older sister, Unity alumna Hannia Candelario, was a role model for her in college, and when they were growing up in Miami.
All four participated in an April disaster relief training sponsored by the Southern Baptist Convention. This included training in safe, effective chainsaw use, equipment management, mold identification, and mud-out techniques. All of the women valued this training, and all were pleased that the church members "were so welcoming, even though we weren't a part of the church." And, the leaders of this session said they would be willing to conduct a disaster relief training session here at Unity College.