Due to the generosity of WATC’s students, faculty and staff, as well as the welcome involvement from McConnell Air Force Base, the third annual Easter Basket community service activity not only successfully met its goal of 100 Easter Baskets, it nearly doubled the baskets delivered from years past. In its first year, the Easter Basket service was able to assemble and deliver 80 baskets. The following year, the number grew to 82. But on March 30th, volunteers happily delivered 146 Easter Baskets to Youthville for them to distribute to children.
The event was prompted 3 years ago because of the 8 hours of community service required by the Psychology and Sociology courses at WATC. When Patty Aubert, Academic Coordinator, General Education was transferred to WATC’s Southside campus, she was asked to help find additional service learning projects for students. She and Tina Slovak, Academic Coordinator, Health & Natural Sciences thought of creating Easter Baskets for the children of Youthville. The project created a great opportunity in the middle of the Spring semester for students to fulfill their community service requirement as well as a chance to provide something through WATC to Youthville.
Youthville is an organization whose mission is to “give children back their childhood”. They work to provide the best sources of help for children who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by offering programs in adoption, foster care, counseling, and psychiatric treatment. Youthville also happens to be next door neighbors to WATC’s Southside campus.
The donations are gathered one month in advance. Through flyers and email notifications, students, faculty, and staff are notified of the need for items ranging from candy, eggs, clothing, games, books, puzzles, bubbles, hats, perfume, jewelry, socks, toiletries, as well as items from the WATC bookstore. People are able to bring any donations to drop boxes in the commons areas at all three WATC campuses. This year, one of the student volunteers had a spouse at McConnell Air Force Base and they contacted Aubert to see if McConnell could help collect candy for the baskets. Aubert gratefully agreed and not only was 95% of the candy collected through McConnell, several airmen came to help prep and assemble the baskets with all of the donated items.
WATC has other community service projects benefiting Youthville. Last year WATC became involved with the Big Hearts Challenge, a campaign that runs February through April and every donation within the first $5,000 is matched by Sunflower Bank. There is also the used and donated cell phone collection that currently taking place on all three WATC campuses, as well as the upcoming Youthville Wish List campaign.
If you are interested in becoming involved with these community service opportunities or would like to find other ways that you can donate your time, please contact Patty Aubert at 316.677.9460.