“Serve Shawnee” Promotes Community Involvement

As part of Oklahoma Baptist University’s Welcome Week, new and returning students participated in the annual “Serve Shawnee” project Monday, Aug. 21. The community service event saw more than 250 spread out over the Shawnee area to do clean-up and maintenance.

“This is my third year to participate in ‘Serve Shawnee,’ and my first year to be involved in planning it,” said Justin Hardy, a senior from McAlester, Okla., who co-coordinated “Serve Shawnee” with Joy Toth, a senior from Topeka, Kan. “It was an effective time. There were students involved in many different activities. One group helped build a bridge over a pond at the Campfire Girls camp.”

Another group of OBU students cleaned yards in the Dunbar Heights community. The Shawnee YMCA benefited from OBU students moving the organization’s playground fencing to its new childcare center.

“I think it’s so wonderful that they are doing this,” said LaDawn Hladik of Shawnee YMCA. “We didn’t know how we were going to get (the fencing) done. They saved us a lot of time.”

Others worked at the American Red Cross center, helping with cleaning, taking inventory and reorganizing the office.

“This center is now under a new jurisdiction,” said Joyce Anderson of American Red Cross. “These students have been a big help as we are making this transition. We needed to do a lot of things really fast, and we probably wouldn’t have made it without their help.”

Hardy said OBU students also served the Volunteer Health Clinic of Pottawatomie County and the Gateway to Prevention and Recovery Center.

This is the fifth consecutive year OBU has observed “Serve Shawnee.” Students were happy to volunteer and understood the importance of helping the community of their university.

“This is a great opportunity for us to connect with the people of Shawnee,” said Kris Stephens, a sophomore from Edmond, Okla. “It helps us to realize how it is important to be involved because it is our community, too.”