Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Spalding Students Dare to Make a Difference

Oh, the sun shines bright in the halls of Hotel Louisville!  Recently, a dozen students from Spalding University's Occupational Therapy program traded their day away from classes to help spruce up the common areas on the first and second floors of Wayside Christian Mission's Hotel Louisville.  The students spent the day dusting tables, walls, benches and polishing windows and doors.  These students are working toward their Masters of Science degrees in Occupational Therapy at Spalding University's Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy and were giving their own time and efforts to the Global Day of Service.

 According to Occupational Therapist and instructor Dr. Laura Strickland, the student volunteers enjoyed the "ability to come together as a collaborative to make a difference."  The school's mission is "compassion, service, peace and justice."  Dr. Strickland is proud that these students "live by those principals through their service at Hotel Louisville."

Here are some quotes from Dr. Strickland's occupational therapy students who donated their time and good efforts to us:

"There is nothing better than spending a Saturday cleaning--you can look at your work and feel accomplished."--Susan

"I am honored and privileged to help an organization that has helped the community over the many years."--April

"I enjoyed being a part of something that benefits our community.  Putting smiles on others' faces and for them to know someone cares is a great gift."--Kimberly

"I'm very excited to be a part of this partnership and look forward to future opportunities to help this organization."--Rebecca

"Thank you for this opportunity.  I really enjoy getting to know more about what Wayside does for Louisville's community."--Jennifer

"It is a great feeling to partner with those who also want to give back and make lasting impressions on the community."--Ashley

"It felt good to do something beneficial for an organization that does so much to help others."--Erica

University of Louisville Nursing Students Inspired by Wayside Christian Mission's Ministry

     Recently, the University of Louisville's Valerie Lander McCarthy arranged for two students from her Community Health Nursing class to visit Wayside Christian Mission's transitional living shelter located on West Broadway.  The purpose of student visits to various community organizations such as Wayside Christian Mission  is to "break down stereotypes" and open the eyes of traditional college students--many who have grown up privileged--"to the realities about different groups in our community." Two of her students, Jasmina and Megan, wanted to know more about the work of Wayside Christian Mission.  Here is what they had to say about their visit:  "This week at Hotel Louisville was very inspiring!  It was truly amazing to hear how people can come back addiction-free after hitting the lowest points of their lives. The many people who shared their past problems gave me a very real insight into  what goes on around the world that I have been closed minded to so far. Hearing the general manager's story of her abusive past and a failed suicide attempt makes me want to jump in and help others who could be in her same situation. It was neat to hear how the people incorporate God into what they do and hold him responsible for saving the lives of the people who come through the doors of the hotel. Chaplain Michael Blunk was a great host and was very eager to help us understand all the aspects of Hotel Louisville. I look forward to hopefully going back to Hotel Louisville in the future to volunteer; it is a great place with great people from many different backgrounds!"

Monday, February 13, 2012

Troop 1008 Brings Joy to Wayside Kids

     Girl Scout Troop 1008 of Middletown places a premium on service to others--and they know how to have fun while helping those in need!  Recently, these energetic Girl Scouts spent an evening at the Mission's Hotel Louisville serving dinner, touring the facility, and enjoying the choir.  The following morning, the girls were up bright and early entertaining the kids in our care!  Our visiting Girl Scouts baked and decorated cookies, led the children in a crafts project, brought in stuffed animals, and painted faces!  And while these Girl Scouts served those less fortunate, they learned about  the causes of homelessness, too.  Here are what some of our Girl Scouts had to say about their experience:

Alyssa:  "I really enjoyed working with the kids and you all do a great job here!"

Shala:  "The choir was fantastic and the food was great!"

Kristen:  "Everyone here seems so supportive of each other and the kids here are sweet and fun!"

Michaela:  "Your choir was great.  It's amazing what these people came to achieve."

Toni:  "The mission does incredible work.  It was very fulfilling helping the children brighten their Valentine's Day."

Center College's Rick Axtell Brings Students Face to Face with Homelessness

Centre College Associate Professor of Religion and College Chaplain Rick Axtell knows that some lessons are best learned outside of the classroom. By bringing his students to Louisville area homeless shelters for first-hand observations and in showing them the real faces of poverty, his class returned to Danville better prepared in arriving at a better understanding of some of the ills that plague our society.  In truth, the victims of homelessness become less statistical and more human when meeting the impoverished face to face. During their rounds to various homeless shelters, these students witnessed poverty in a real world context. After all, these students represent the next generation of leaders.  Some of life's most valuable lessons are learned by experience.  Educational experiences as this serve to prepare these students for the long road ahead.   It was our pleasure in playing a part in our guest students' eye-opening visit to Louisville. 

Mt Moriah Church Bag Ladies to the Rescue

    LaRue County is best known as the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln.  Besides of its place in American history, LaRue County is known for its scenic countryside, friendly people, and is home to the Mt. Moriah Church "Bag Ladies."  Perhaps an explanation is in order.  The Mt. Moriah Church Bag Ladies weave comfortable, waterproof sleeping mats for the homeless using disposable grocery bags that seem to accumulate in everyone's kitchen.  Martha Childress was the first to make a sleeping mat from discarded plastic bags; these mats are durable, comfortable, and incredibly warm.  As these are made of  non-biodegradable plastic, the mats are impervious to water!  And they really are comfortable.  Surprisingly comfortable!  Martha then taught a group of ladies at Mt. Moriah Church to make these amazing plastic mats and the Mats for the Homeless ministry was born.  Each mat uses about a thousand plastic bags and may take as many as forty hours to craft.  Recently, Pastor Shannon McCubbins and his delegation of Bag Ladies left a supply of sleeping mats that will be distributed to those who are living on the streets and will not come into the Mission for help.  Only a cynic could resist Pastor McCubbins' wonderful Bag Ladies.   His motto is not to merely come to church but to be the church!  Just think--forty hours of tedious work and a thousand discarded bags to make a safe and comfortable sleeping mat for someone in need!  The Mt. Moriah Church Bag Ladies are a blessing!  Thank you, ladies!