Rio Grande, Ohio – Students in the University of Rio Grande’s Bunce School of Education are working to make a difference in Southeast Ohio.
Dr. Sangeeta Gulati’s Multicultural Relations class decided to give back by hosting a coat drive with area high schools.
“Every semester, the class does a service learning project to help those in need. The students decided a coat drive would be best for this semester because there is a need in our communities to help children living in poverty,” Gulati said. “The class has a motto of ‘Think Globally. Act Locally,’ which means to think of global issues such as poverty or hunger, and think of ways to help fight the problem in our own community and create awareness for the problem.”
The students in Gulati’s class worked with students from Jackson and Gallia counties to collect coats and other winter items for the drive. Lena Hamilton, a junior early childhood education, said working with the high school students in the community.
“It was really important to get the students in our area involved,” Hamilton said. “As education majors we want to get students to be active and care about these kinds of issues and better their community. When we get in the classroom, we want to be able to motivate our students, and this is a great place to start. We also thought it would be fun for the students’ school rivalries by creating a competition through the drive.”
The schools’ sports teams continued their friendly rivalries though the coat drive, with the winners in each county receiving a pizza party for collecting the most items. Gulati said the idea behind the class is to give her students a better idea of different concerns around the world, and teach them to create global awareness once they become teachers.
“I am so proud of the work they have done on this project,” Gulati said. “All of these students are going to be teachers, and can be role models for their students by teaching them how to deal with societal issues and give back to their communities.”
The donations will go to Gallipolis Children and Family Services in Gallia County and the Jackson Jobs and Family Services in Jackson County. Braden Bowen, a junior middle childhood language arts and social studies major, said the class wanted to find a way to make the winter months a little warmer for the community.
“We really wanted this to be more than just an assignment. We wanted to find the best way we could give back to our community,” Bowen said. “We knew there are a lot of families in this region with limited access to coats for the winter, so we felt this would be a great opportunity to help those in need.”
The schools raised 60 coats, seven scarves and a toboggan. The Jackson County High School Volleyball Team raised the most items, with South Gallia as the runner up for the classes competition.