Six students reach out to serve Waterloo

by Tabitha Blaser

Fall break is a time for relaxation, getting away from homework and forgetting about our busy class schedules for four days. But this year Simpson College’s Religious Life Community (RLC) decided to spend their break giving back to the community.

This year, RLC created a trip for students to spend these four days serving others in Waterloo, Iowa. Six students decided to take on this experience to help others.

Junior Dani Musselman, one of the RLC interns, was in charge of organizing the trip to Waterloo. She put a lot of effort into this trip so any student who wanted to serve others, could.

“I started from scratch for this trip. With most spring break trips that RLC offers, we will plan trips with Habitat for Humanity which makes it easier. This year for fall break, I decided to not do a trip with Habitat, and I found a location that had a lot of resources available to homeless,” said Musselman.

Her passion for finding an area that would benefit the group members led her to Waterloo, a town that has many service sites.

She said, “Waterloo provides its communities with many different places to receive food and extra assistance.”

After calling and talking with members of local churches and numerous service sites, Musselman’s plan to send a group to Waterloo fell into place.

“It just seemed like the perfect location to serve and to get off campus for a while,” she said.

During this trip, students had many opportunities to reach out and help people from the Waterloo community who are looking for some assistance.

Musselman said, “Students (volunteered) at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank for one day, and for two days the students (volunteered) at the Cedar Valley Hospitality House where they might prepare a meal or two or help in other ways.”

Although the students were there ultimately to serve the Waterloo community, Musselman hopes that the six students who went on this trip will have experienced growth and developed a better understanding of themselves.

“One of the main things I hope students get out of this trip is that they are able to learn something new about themselves. I hope they can figure out a new passion through reflection or that they might learn something new about service,” she said.

Through trips like this, she hopes that a spark of interest might grow in Simpson students. It is good to help the Indianola and Des Moines communities, but she believes that there is also value in helping the other areas as well.

“This (was) a great opportunity for Simpson students to travel off campus and serve,” Musselman said. “I think students should care about service and in caring about service, it is important for students to get out of their comfort zone in order that they might find their passions in life.”

In finding those passions, it can grow into a journey to serve others in a bigger way.

Musselman said, “[Students] are able to get out of their comfort zone by traveling to new places to serve.”

College is a time to experience new things, and for these volunteers, it started with this trip.

 “You really cannot find these types of opportunities after college, which makes this the perfect time to do it,” Musselman said.