Hallie Marie McErlain, Reporter
Rosie Powers, Editor
With the holiday season approaching, many people have charity on their minds and want to give back to the community. Berry offers many ways to get involved off campus and make a difference in the Rome community.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity on campus is an extension of Habitat for Humanity-Coosa Valley, which in turn is part of Habitat for Humanity International. The organization partners with volunteers to build affordable housing for families that otherwise could not buy their own homes.
Berry’s club recruits volunteers and sends teams into the Rome community every other Saturday to help build, repair or paint houses.
“Volunteering is a great way to open our eyes to things that we might not be exposed to in the ‘Berry Bubble,’ and it gives us the chance to understand how each of us can have an impact on other people’s lives,” Habitat for Humanity club president Madison Rose said.
The club meets once a month, and Rose said she sends out emails regarding when and where builds will be.
Temple Tutoring Program
The Berry College Honors Program also offers service opportunities specifically for Honors students, including a tutoring program that partners Berry students with Greater Christ Temple in Rome. Students from area schools meet at the church to be tutored by Berry Honors students on Mondays throughout the academic year.
“The tutoring program is a great opportunity to make a strong connection and develop a relationship with a student,” Lauren Heller, interim co-director of the Berry College Honors Program and associate professor of economics, said. “The Honors students get to fulfill Martha Berry’s mission, ‘Not to be ministered unto, but to minister.’”
The tutoring program is in its sixth year. Honors students commit to one of the three hour-long tutoring shifts. Heller said if either the tutor or the student can’t make it, they are expected to contact the other, modeling the commitment each is making.
According to Heller, a wide age range of students come to Greater Christ Temple every week, from kindergarteners working on spelling to seniors in high school working on SAT or ACT prep. They come from schools all over Floyd County, including Pepperell High, Rome Middle and High, Armuchee Elementary, Middle and High and many other schools in the area.
“Being there shows that we care about those kids,” freshman Honors student Sarah Babione said.
The majority of the students being tutored are black, while many of the tutors are white college students. Heller said this partnership helps to break down racial and socio-economic barriers.
“Bishop Guthrie, the 90-year-old pastor of Greater Christ Temple, was telling me how 60 years ago, when he started this church, the tutoring program couldn’t have happened,” Heller said.
For more service opportunities, click the Service Opportunities tab on Berry’s website. The site is managed by the Berry College Volunteer Services (BCVS) Office, which is another resource that connects students with community partners in Floyd County.
BCVS is located in Krannert 251, and it is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. To get involved, BCVS suggests visiting their office, filling out an online form or emailing them about service opportunities. The online form notifies the Volunteer Office of what types of projects or organizations a student may be interested in working with.
Some of the community partners are the Boys and Girls Club of Rome, PAWS (Floyd County Animal Control) and the Davies Homeless Shelter. The Volunteer Office will pair students with a group in the community that has something to do with their interests, according to Madison Hubbard, a member of the BCVS staff.
Each semester, BCVS organizes a service day, which is another way to get involved with community service. In the fall, it is called Make A Difference Day. This year, it occurred on Oct. 28. In the spring, BCVS organizes a service day on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which is on Jan. 15 in 2018.
“Make A Difference Day and the MLK Service Day are national service days; it’s not just for Berry,” BCVS staff member Rachel LaFroscia said. “It’s really cool to think about schools all over the country going out in the community to help people.”
Individuals, clubs, teams or a group of friends can sign up for the service day next semester and BCVS will connect them with a service site.