Buena Vista University

BVU Grad's Students Get a Lesson in Helping the Homeless

Jun. 11, 2012


Reprinted Courtesy of Muscatine Journal

Note: Christina Walker is a 2011 graduate of Buena Vista University where she majored in English education with certification in Teaching English as a Second Language.

The students who signed up for Christina Walker’s “Women and Literature” class this semester at Muscatine High School got a little more than they bargained for.

The students ended up sleeping in cardboard boxes on a cold spring night and coordinating a large-scale event for their fellow students.

And they wouldn’t have missed a minute of it.

It all began when the students learned part of the class requirements involved a social action project.

The students decided to provide local homeless people with hygiene and grooming products.

Raising money was a two-phase project.

First, the students held a campout in front of their school in late April to raise awareness of, and funds for, the homeless.

The students slept in cardboard boxes donated by area manufacturers and stores and accepted donations from the community for their project.

“It was awesome,” said sophomore Taylor Livermore.

Walker had a different take on the camp out.

“It was really cold,” she said.

The more than $150 raised in the camping venture was used to stage an all-school fundraising dance on May 12.

The dance yielded $1,100, enough money to purchase products for 150 hygiene kits.

The students brought 75 kits to the Muscatine Center for Social Action’s homeless shelter and Muscatine’s Jesus Mission Church on Tuesday.

Maggie Curry, executive director for MCSA, told the students the kits will be put to good use.

“We have 60 people staying here at night,” said Curry.

The students said they were surprised to learn that many people needed the shelter.

Cheryl Estabrook, an administrative support person for MCSA, told the students, “Ninety-nine percent of the people who receive these kits will say something about how much they appreciate them.”.

The students asked Curry what other items are needed at the shelter, because they saved back some of their funds to make additional purchases.

“We were really wanting to make this more personal, rather than handing over a check,” said Walker.

2012 graduate Stephanie Burns said she didn’t realize how important the class project was when it was being developed.

“Now I feel very good we made this choice,” she said.

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