COLDWATER, MI (WTVB) - Branch County is a better place to live thanks to two dozen students and more than a thousand hours of community services performed. It happened because of the first-ever SERV 200 service learning course offered at Kellogg Community College’s Grahl Center in Coldwater during the fall semester. As part of the course, the students each designed a 20-hour project aimed at a local nonprofit of their choice. Course instructor Ann Lown said the class was an awesome challenge for students and a great way to make a difference in Branch County.
Student projects included a fundraiser for the Humane Society of Branch County; a Christmas gift fundraiser and event for the Branch County Coalition Against Domestic Violence; a flag football event to raise funds for and awareness of causes related to cystic fibrosis; a bake sale for the Bronson Public Library; a medicine disposal event held in conjunction with the Michigan State Police; the creation of a website for Family Promise of Branch County; the production of care packages for troops in Africa; a healthy meal event for parents; several activities and events held for Beginnings Care for Life Center; increased awareness of the Habitat for Humanity ReStore; math tutoring in local schools; gift wrapping at an Eby-Klein Youth and Family Center event; and a cancer awareness event.
Course organizers said many of the students far exceeded their 20-hour service requirement for the course and that many plan to continue working with the organization they chose after the class has ended. Josh Englehart, a student in the course, said during his final presentation that he plans to continue the cystic fibrosis fundraiser he completed for the course annually with his goal this year of raising $10,000. An expanded service learning initiative that began at KCC this fall requires every student pursuing an associate degree outside of the applied sciences to complete 15 hours of service learning in a course with a service-learning certified faculty member or to complete 24 hours of service learning as part of SERV 200.