Two Reinhardt University business classes have had much more than just good grades on their minds this spring. They have explored the complicated issues of hunger, inadequate clothing, and malaria prevention, and by partnering with SERV-International, a Christian nonprofit headquartered in Canton, Ga., these students’ projects have produced impressive results:
- Raised $1000 to build a bread oven for House of Hope, the orphanage in Kenya run by SERV International
- Raised $342 for mattresses and malaria nets for the orphanage
- Donated 45 school uniform shorts during a mission trip to the Dominican Republic
- Provided 850 meals financed by increased clothing donations to SERV
- Collected and donated 252 pairs of flip flops
“I kept feeling like it was something I was supposed to help fix.”
Reinhardt senior Brooke Haley (left) from Marietta, Ga. was deeply moved by what she’s learned. “My attitude changed 100 percent. I would come home from school, not depressed, but definitely not how I usually was. I would constantly having to talk to my family and even teammates at practice about what’s going on in Kenya. I kept feeling like it was something I was supposed to help fix. I realized that I was drawn in and felt so connected to the children in Kenya, and it has made me want to go over there with SERV… I can’t thank [Dr. Joann P. Adeogun] enough for partnering us with SERV… Yes, we receive a grade, but someone also gets something out of our work.”
Ambitious Goals Include $1000 to Build a New Bread Oven
Instructor Tina H. Boosel’s Project Management class focused on raising $1000 for the oven, which will help the orphanage become more self sustainable by allowing them to prepare and feed fresh bread to the children, and also provide bread to sell to the community to generate income. The class raised the money by selling Chick-fil-A lunches on February 11 and the Williamson Bros. Bar-B-Q on March 26. The successful projects allowed the students, professors and Reinhardt administrators to present a $1300 check ($1000 for the oven and $300 for mattresses and malaria nets) to SERV officials as part of the Bar-B-Q. The foundation for the oven has already been laid, and the class hopes to get a photo of the completed project before the end of April.
Boosel commended the University community for its support. “It has been a tremendous learning experience for our students, and it’s also given us a platform to teach to give back to the community.” For the barbecue fund raiser, Boosel’s class worked with Dr. Joann P. Adeogun’s class. “Working together helped them all learn the importance of teamwork to carry out a goal. The projects have certainly met our theme of ‘A Great Leader Must SERV First,’” Boosel said.
Jim Mroczko, a Reinhardt alumnus and SERV’s president, was thankful for the assistance. “It is a great pleasure for our SERV team to have the honor of being the recipient of the proceeds from such a meaningful project!” he said. “Bringing global awareness to the basic needs in developing countries through our work in Kenya has been truly rewarding. I would like to thank Dr. Joann Adeogun, Tina Boosel, and all of the business class students for their efforts as they are a huge inspiration to us. It was so great to see such enthusiasm for the project as they worked together toward a common goal with such purpose.”
The projects will have long-lasting Impact on the House of Hope in Kenya
Mroczko said the House of Hope Kenya will be greatly impacted for years to come through the efforts of the Reinhardt staff and faculty. “I look forward to personally tasting the bread from the new oven when I visit Kenya the first week of May, along with having the privilege of seeing the smiles on the orphans faces with their new flip flops, mosquito nets and mattresses. In addition to benefiting the House of Hope, the clothing drive helped to provide for much needed food in the Turkana District of Kenya where many are dying daily from a severe famine. [This has been] truly a huge blessing!”
To learn more about the developing countries, students in the International Business class researched challenging topics like education, transportation, religion and churches, self-sufficiency of women, relationship building and communication, and risk factors and violence in developing countries. That research will be shared with SERV to help them address their goals.
Adeogun said the idea to collaborate with SERV International developed after Mroczko gave the University’s annual business ethics lecture. A Christian organization, SERV International establishes long-term projects designed to empower and partner with local residents. Its staff and
volunteers also share the love of God as they address critical needs, like providing clean water, life skills and feeding programs.
When Mroczko and the organization’s project coordinator Shelby Thayer spoke with the classes, the project took on a new energy, Adeogun said.
“When Jim and Shelby came to the class and showed a video, my students got a visual of the organization, and that visual actually helped them identify with the people in Kenya and in House of Hope orphanage. That, along with actually going to volunteer in the SERV store in Canton and seeing where the clothing, the flip-flops, the money was going, underscored the real-world impact their efforts could have.”
Writing Letters to the House of Hope Children “Opened my eyes and made me see the real world.”
Adeogun’s students also were impacted by the time they spent volunteering in the SERV facility.
Haley really enjoyed writing the letters to the House of Hope children. “I was always one of those people who would act like everything was fine because I kept myself uneducated about developing counties so that I could continue to go on with my life. I love that this experience opened my eyes and made me see the real world. While writing, I was nearly in tears. I couldn’t believe what I was reading about each of the children. Writing those letters to the children made me feel connected to them, and I hope the letters let the children know that they are so loved.”
“It gave me hope that what we were doing would actually make a difference…”
Senior John “Adam” Rogers of Lindale, Ga., also learned a great deal through the assignments, especially the volunteer experience. “During our SERV project, I learned not only the struggle of under
developed countries, but the project also shed light on how well we have it here in America. Poverty on any level is saddening, and it is a shame to see people struggle… It touched my heart when our class was given the opportunity to go work… at the SERV facility. We were able to package some electronic Bibles to send to the Dominican Republic and to write letters to some of the kids who are in the orphanage in Kenya. Although they live in poverty, it was evident in their letters and pictures that they possess a light, a happy demeanor that shines through no matter the circumstances thrown their way. This had to be my favorite part of the entire project because it gave me hope that what we were doing would actually make a difference. They are living under extreme circumstances and facing some incredible obstacles in life, but yet they remain optimistic. So therefore, if they can do it, I can do it as well.”
The Projects also helped the students and faculty get to know one another more as individuals
Radvile Autukaite, a senior from Vilnius, Lithuania, also learned from the experience. “While working towards a common goal all together, we were able to learn about each other, each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” Autukaite said. “I think it was helpful because we were able to learn about who we are more as individuals and not just students, including the professor.”
Senior business major Jared “JJ” Johnson of Ellenwood, Ga., said the experience underscored the “importance of giving back and how little things in our world make a big difference in underserved people across the world.”
To learn more about the giving opportunities provided by SERV International, visit https://servone.org/