Students accept President’s service challenge

TAMEKA BULLARD
Staff Writer

KC has accepted President Barack Obama’s challenge to participate in the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge. KC is one of hundreds of colleges and universities that will begin making the concept of community service a reality on campuses.

The goal of the interfaith service is to unite students of different religious beliefs and cultural differences by involving them in community services that allow them to work together as a team.

“Working together regardless of our differences and acknowledging what we have in common and than working together to make the communities in which we live so much better,” said Patti Bell, career services coordinator/service learning director who is leading the program.

Such services include building homes, participating in clothing and food drives or thinking of new methods to solve existing issues in the community.

The issues created by the  Edward M. Kennedy  Serve America Act were the areas of focus addressed in the recent interfaith service meeting.

“There are a few things that we chose to focus on in reference to the Kennedy Serve America Act,” Bell said.

The Serve America Act reauthorizes and expands national service programs administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency formed to engage Americans of all ages and backgrounds in service to meet community needs.

Domestic poverty, the environment and healthy living were the areas of focus chosen by the KC interfaith service group.

“They decided to participate in Habitat for Humanity projects which will include habitat builds and what habitat calls A Brush with Kindness,” Bell said.

Habitat for Humanity’s A Brush with Kindness offers exterior home services such as painting, landscaping, weather stripping and minor repair services to low-income homeowners impacted by age, disability or family circumstances.

“We’re focusing not only for those individuals who find themselves without housing, but the students also chose to focus on those individuals who have housing but need help with repairs or updates,” Bell said.

KC will conduct a Longview Habitat for Humanity Women Build at 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 13, at 506 Park St. in Longview. Men are welcome to come and support the cause but the group is hoping that the turnout will be more women-based.

In addition to the service work, Bell hopes to incorporate an understanding of service actions among the group.

“We will also come together as a group and talk about what drives us regardless of our belief system to serve others,” Bell said.

Students wanting to participate in the program or in the Women Build can contact the Service Learning Department at 903-983-8678 or email learning@kilgore.edu.

Faculty or staff members can also get involved in the interfaith service, but Bell is hoping the program will be more student-oriented.

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