Students SERVE the community well


by Lindsay Taylor

Building homes for the homeless, helping children with homework and collecting food for others are just some of the things the Simpson College service groups do to help the community.

Habitat for Humanity is led by sophomore Shristi Upreti.

“We work with the Warren County Habitat for Humanity,” said Upreti. “We are serving the homeless by building them houses.”

Students do not actually build houses.

“We will contact the office and they will tell us where we need to go,” said Upreti. “We help paint or clean up.”

Even though they are helping others, they still have a good time.

“We have fun,” said Upreti. “Before this I had never painted before.”

Another campus group is Students Embracing Responsible Volunteer Experience.

“We do projects on campus so that students do not have to go out into the community if they do not wish to,” said senior Paula Cripps. “I want people to be comfortable.”

Last year, SERVE did Shanty Town and collected candy for Safe Block.

“People volunteer for many reasons,” said Cripps. “Some because of religious beliefs and some because they think they should. We work with everybody.”

SERVE is a group that works with several organizations on campus.

“The goal is to get students involved in service opportunities by making them aware of what is out there,” said senior Katie Ziskovsky.

SERVE wants students to have the opportunities to help others.

“We try to make volunteering as convenient for students as possible,” said Upreti.

Shalom Zone is another group on campus for people who love children.

“We do a Bible study with the kids,” said senior Lisa Croat. “We eat with them, and help them with reading, homework, games, computers and crafts.”

Shalom Zone meets twice a week for about three hours each day.

“It’s an after-school program that meets at Gatchel United Methodist Church in Des Moines,” said Croat.

“The smiles and hugs, watching them grow and learn. It’s an amazing time in our day and the kids benefit so much.”

The Religious Life Council also has various opportunities for service.

“We challenge students who are involved in RLC and those who are not to be more involved in service to our neighbors,” said Ziskovsky. “On campus, in the community and around the world.”

“We are really trying to focus on putting those service experiences in context so that it becomes meaningful for both you and the person you are serving,” said Ziskovsky. “Even if you just have to come to a group for a class, our goal is to help you be more aware of the larger picture and the good you are doing, and hopefully it will light a spark and you will want to seek out ways to be in service to others.”

People seek to help others because they see it as a service not only to the people they are helping, but as a service to God.

“My purpose in life is to love God and to live for Him,” said sophomore Miranda Lund. “I have a desire for others to know and experience the love, joy, peace and general awesomeness of knowing Christ in a very real, personal and day to day way. Through the organization and funds provided by RLC, I am able to share that truth with a larger range of people in a broader way.”

Another group is Breakfast Club. They meet Thursday’s at 6:20 a.m. near the front of Kresge Hall. Breakfast club goes to inner-city Des Moines to work with kids at who go to Moulton Elementary. The students serve and clean up breakfast along with playing board games, coloring, reading and jump roping with the kids before school starts. They return to Simpson by 9 a.m.