HCC Scholars Join Forces for First Honors Day of Service
On September 23, 2016, nearly three dozen Rouse, STEM, and Schoenbrodt Scholars students rolled up their sleeves and got to work volunteering with the Baltimore Community ToolBank and the Parks & People Foundation in Baltimore City.
It was the first time Howard Community College’s (HCC) Center for Service Learning brought the three honors programs together to serve.
“We have been working with each program individually for some time now, but as the college has moved to a more unifying vision for the honors programs, we wanted to bring the students together for a shared experience in service,” said Brittany Budden, director of Service Learning.
On site, the students were split into three groups. One group helped out by maintaining young trees in the neighborhood surrounding the Baltimore Community ToolBank, while another group cleaned tools. Meanwhile, a third group organized items for the Baltimore Teacher Supply Swap housed on the ToolBank’s property.
Students from the first group quickly formed small teams and got to work, weeding, mulching, and watering the trees one by one along Wicomico and Bush streets.
Michael Hurd, a first-year student and Schoenbrodt Scholar, took it upon himself to volunteer for the Honors Day of Service.
“This is my first year at HCC and I don’t know a lot of people,” he said. “I thought this would be a good way to meet other students.”
Hurd, who took part in the weeding and mulching, said he enjoyed volunteering and would do it again in a heartbeat.
“I thought it was a good thing to do,” he said. “When we were out there, Parks & People said when we take out the weeds, the small trees don’t have to compete for water, so they grow faster.”
The faster the trees grow, the sooner passersby on the sidewalks can enjoy some shade – something the honors students would have appreciated on that sunny, 85 degree day of service.
Behind the ToolBank, the second group took advantage of a small patch of shade, where they scrubbed cement-covered wheelbarrows with wire brushes and repurposed rainwater.
Zahra Pervaiz, a second year Rouse Scholar, said it was hard work, but worth it.
“It was a fun thing to do, even if it was just cleaning wheelbarrows,” she said. “Service is something I really enjoy doing. I’d love to have a career that does service all the time..
“It was also cool seeing how the ToolBank works with different organizations with similar goals.”
The ToolBank was quick to comment on a photo of the students, which was posted to HCC’s Instagram account.
“Great group! They really put us ahead of the game on work to prep for our big fundraiser next Saturday,” the comment read.
Students also helped the Baltimore Teacher Supply Swap, who had just recently moved into the ToolBank warehouse after losing their original space. The Baltimore Teacher Supply Swap equips teachers, schools, and educational programs with classroom supplies to help students learn. They do this by collecting materials that people no longer need and distributing them to those in need.
The students helped by unloading shelves, putting them back together, and restocking them with supplies.
In the end, Pervaiz said everyone had a great time and felt proud to lend a helping hand.“You just feel so good at the end of it,” she said.