Nov. 22, 2019 (Middletown, Conn.) — More than 50 students and staff members from Middlesex Community College volunteered their time by working in the community on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019. Dubbed as the first MxCC Day of Service, the volunteers weeded yards, restocked library shelves, polished and moved furniture, painted walls, washed tables, cleaned windows and much more at seven area nonprofit facilities. They included ABC Women’s Center, Cat Tales, Gilead Community Services and Russell Library in Middletown; Ädelbrook and Middlesex Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Cromwell, and the Meriden Soup Kitchen.
“We cannot have a community college without a community. At Middlesex, we want to make sure that we are not only invested in the students that we serve, but also the community that surrounds us,” said English professor Ashley Raithel, who coordinated the program with the college’s Center for Civic Engagement. “At this time of year, a week before Thanksgiving, we want to be sure that we are putting into action what we teach our students every day—kindness matters.”
Appointed as the center’s coordinator last fall, Raithel and members of the group’s steering committee were brainstorming new and different ways to reach out to the community when the idea of an annual Day of Service came up. At first, they considered one big project at one location, but one of the community partners recommended simultaneous smaller projects. Raithel said they jumped on this idea as it allows Middlesex to be even more engaged in the community.
“This is a great opportunity to get involved and do my part in giving back to the community,” said Megan Kehlenback of Northford who was among 22 student volunteers.
“Helping out at the ReStore seemed like a fun thing to do while volunteering at the same time. What’s better than that?” added Betty Riedinger, a science lab supervisor at the college.
As a force of positive change, the Center for Civic Engagement helps the college’s faculty and staff incorporate, organize and promote community-engaged learning. The center is also an exceptional resource for students to research independent projects and for the community to connect with the college to address local needs. In addition, the center supports or sponsors all civic-focused activities on campus such as voter registration drives, campus forums and events about critical social justice issues, as well as a monthly “Courageous Conversations” event for college community members to gather and discuss pertinent issues of the day.
The college’s Center for Civic Engagement plans to make the MxCC Day of Service a regular occurrence, and they will continue to offer community volunteer opportunities in the spring. For more information, please visit the center’s website.
Since 1966, Middlesex Community College has provided high-quality, affordable, and accessible education to a diverse population, enhancing the strengths of individuals through degree, certificate, and lifelong learning programs that lead to university transfer, employment, and an enriched awareness of our shared responsibilities as global citizens. A part of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system, MxCC offers more than 70 degree or certificate programs at the 38-acre campus in Middletown, MxCC@Platt in Meriden, and online.