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Monday, June 24, 2019

WCC Students Are Ready to Help

Helping others help themselves. Community service is all about extending a hand to benefit our community and the institutions that support it. That is what WCC students will be doing in droves this spring and summer as they spread out far and wide to raise money, awareness, and spirits.

Renovating, restoring, and repurposing old buildings and houses has become part of the curriculum for students in WCC’s residential construction and design program. Though plans have yet to be finalized, instructor Cristy Lindemann expects her students to be knee-deep in sawdust throughout most of the summer.

“We’d like to continue our work with Growing Hope to finish remodeling a farm house for them into office space,” said Lindemann. “We plan on finishing the conversion of an old church into apartments for Peace Neighborhood and assisting Community Housing Alternatives of Ypsilanti with the demolition and remodeling of a home to sell to a low-income family.”

All of WCC’s construction classes will take part in these projects. Introductory classes will do much of the demolition, while intermediate and advanced classes will install windows, doors, and drywall, as well as finish floors, hang exterior siding, roof, and paint. Construction management students will be involved with building permits, scheduling, and estimating costs and materials, and another class will work exclusively with concrete.

Children's Garden Helps Grow Healthy Habits

This summer, hammers also will help assemble a unique outdoor project to grow awareness of healthy eating among preschool children. It’s being called a Legacy Garden, and it is the brainchild of students in WCC’s School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management.

Three raised beds will be built for herbs and fresh produce in an area adjacent to the outdoor play area of the Family Education building. The building houses the WCC Children’s Center, which provides child care for WCC students and employees. Project organizers will encourage the young children and their parents to assist in tending the garden throughout the summer and to participate in a culinary demonstration at the end of the growing season.

“I read about the Culinary Federation of America’s Chef and Child program, and thought that we could do something like that here at WCC that combined volunteerism with our passion for eating well,” said Jay Jacobs, who brought the idea to his fellow students and is helping organize the project. “We will be planting basil, parsley, rosemary, oregano, leaf lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and green beans, which combined will make a nice salad.”

“But we want to take it a little further and maybe show them how to make a tomato sauce or pesto,” said Bob Durbin, another student involved in the project. “We’ll also talk to them about the nutritional aspect of the food we’ve grown together and, when the time comes, we will invite parents to watch their children harvest the vegetables and herbs.”

Funding for the Legacy Garden comes from a portion of the tips that food service management students received through their work at the College’s popular Garrett’s restaurant. The restaurant showcases student skills in food preparation and service four days a week during the fall and winter semesters.

“We want this to be a learning experience for everyone, parents as well as kids,” said Robert Stretch, one of the project coordinators. “We’ve set it up so that future (culinary) classes will make sure it keeps going each year.”

Several culinary students also will share their knowledge and passion for food with a Girl Scout troop in the greater Chicago area. The visit takes place as part of the students’ annual trip to the National Restaurant Association Trade Show in Chicago May 22-25, according to instructor Jill Beauchamp. WCC culinary students will teach the scouts about nutritious snacks and will host a hands-on cooking demonstration with the girls. Afterward, they will quiz the scouts on the information they’ve just been given and award prizes to those who do well.

Events Offer Many Volunteer Opportunities

The Student Development and Activities office encourages all WCC students to lend a hand with one or more of the numerous upcoming community events. To get more information or sign up, call 734-973-3500 or stop by room 112 in the Student Center building. Be sure to check the WCC calendar for updates and additional opportunities.

Youth Day of Caring
May 8
Select locations around Washtenaw County
WCC students will help site leaders to facilitate this all-out community teen effort to perform the kinds of grounds maintenance and repair jobs area nonprofits can’t afford to have someone do for them.

The Heart Association’s Heart Walk
May 15
Washtenaw Community College
Sign up to walk and raise money and awareness or volunteer to help set up and facilitate the event. Roughly 1,500 walkers will be on campus, and 25-30 WCC students are expected to participate.

United Way of Washtenaw County’s National Day of Action
June 21
Select locations around Washtenaw County
Area nonprofits benefit from a day of spruce up and repairs.

American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life
June 26-27
Washtenaw Community College
Teams walk for 24 hours to raise money for cancer research. WCC’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter is sponsoring a team.

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