Make a Difference Day By Casey Palmer | October 10, 2011 | RSS Students at Bluefield College are giving back to the community that has given so much to them. During Make a Difference Day, students could choose to volunteer at the Abel Center, Bluefield Union Mission, Westminster Church and an animal shelter. The college celebrated Make a Difference Day on Sept. 10, encouraging students to serve in the community. This year 28 people participated and spent their day working at one of four work sites. Those included the Abel Center, Bluefield Union Mission, Westminster Church and an animal shelter. “It’s real encouraging to see college students come out and want to spend their time cleaning dog cages, making lunches, sorting through clothes and not really doing the most glamorous things, but getting up a little earlier on a Saturday morning to help people,” said Kristen Garrett, director of Bonner and community outreach. At the Abel Center, volunteers sorted maternity clothes, cleaned the inside of the building and spruced up the outside of the center by trimming bushes and pulling up weeds. Students at the Bluefield Union Mission put together feminine hygiene bags, reorganized the walk-in refrigerator, and separated cakes and cookies to give to people. “I really enjoyed it,” said Sarah Mason, a sophomore from Lakewood, Ohio. “Eugene Fitzgerald prepared a Bible study for us after lunch and we talked about how even though we’ll never see the people we helped, every item we packaged represented one of them.” The work continued at Westminster Church where three students spent their time painting a hallway. “Even though we’re just painting on the wall it’s eventually going to serve as something,” said Ryan Talley, a junior from Matoaca, Va. “We’re just helping give back to the people that do so much for us.” A number of students at BC call Westminster their home-away-from-home church, and some have even grown up there. “It means a lot to me because this church means a lot to me,” said Caitlin Allen, a sophomore from Bluefield, Va. “I grew up in this church; this is my family. So seeing people care enough to come and help paint and get it looking nice means a lot.” At the animal shelter nine students helped clean animal cages, fed the animals and watered them. “It’s a humbling experience because it’s not easy to shovel poop, step in it, and get scratched and nipped at by dogs,” said Erin Darnell, a senior from Orange Va. “But it just reminds you that the world doesn’t revolve around you, and there’s so many other things going on in our community that we don’t even realize.” The students volunteered their time selflessly, but in return they received as well. “It makes me feel grateful because I have a mom and these dogs and cats don’t, so I’m grateful for that,” said Tiffany Clement, a junior from Roanoke, Va. Each student volunteered because they wanted too but some were able to receive credit at the same time. Those who are a part of Alpha Delta volunteered because they are required to. “This means a lot to me because our sorority is a community service –based organization and so the fact that we’re actually getting out and doing community service together is great,” said Alpha Delta president, Lauren Pillow, a junior from Chesapeake, Va. Freshmen students were also able to receive credit for their seminar class which requires them to do community service. Some of the students that participated were Rachael Stairs, Jenn Farmer, and Jordan Montgomery. These volunteer experiences showed students there’s a need in the community and got them thinking about what they can do to help. “I want to volunteer and do more I just don’t know where yet,” said Danielle Preservati, a junior from Princeton, W.Va.