Front: Kathryn Tyykila, Oscar Perez, Emmanuel Amon. Middle: Tatum Hoadley, Rosalind Macho, Mark Shea, Taylor Loy. Back: Kalab Kibret

April 5, 2017

Ten Buena Vista University students participated in an AWOL (Alternative Week of Off-site Learning) trip during spring break, enabling them to volunteer their time and service with a focus on tackling poverty and serving youth in Eagle Butte, S.D.

The BVU participants volunteered with the Cheyenne River Youth Project, a youth and family services organization that is tailored to meet the needs of indigenous people. The participants spent the week at a youth center and helped with the organization’s Passion for Fashion Dress Drive, a program that accepts dress and accessory donations so area youth are able to attend prom. While there, the group helped set up the event’s venue, organize donations, serve food and help attendees pick out apparel.

“It was so inspiring to see the impact that Passion For Fashion had on girls,” said Taylor Loy, a junior political science major from Indianola and one of the student site leaders for the trip.

“Many people ask how just one week of service can really make any lasting effects, but for me it’s not just about the large-scale impact. Volunteering is always a positive thing, and no matter how small or seemingly insignificant the service is, there is always some sort of positive impact, whether we are able to see it or not.”

Taylor Loy

Other students who participated in the youth and poverty AWOL experience include Tyler Puls, a senior history education major from Geneseo, Ill.; Tatum Hoadley, a sophomore biology major from Alta; Oscar Perez, a senior Spanish major from Storm Lake; Presely Schumate, a junior accounting, business and Spanish triple major from Milo; Kathryn Tyykila, a sophomore elementary education major from Canby, Minn.; Rosalind Macho, a freshman political science major from Melrose Park, Ill.; and Kalab Kibret, a freshman biology major from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Advisors for the trip were Mark Shea, director of student success at BVU, and Emmanuel Amon, BVU AmeriCorps VISTA.