Bonner Serves on MLK Service Saturday
Four days after school started, Bonners kicked off the semester by dedicating a Service Saturday in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy. A total of 50 Bonners came out to serve at three locations: Forge for Families, New Hope Housing, and Rice University.
The first Bonner team started the day bright and early at Forge for Families, with a strong showing of 33 students. Bonners were given a warm welcome from the leadership over at the Forge, when they were shortly debriefed about what they will be doing. For the rest of the day, Bonners worked in teams to clean windows, paint walls, repair the playground, and weeding the garden.
Quinn Edgecomb, freshman, said that her favorite part of the day was playing with the kids. “We were repairing the playground and the kids came out to talk and play with us. Eventually, they helped us with the chores because it was fun. It was really nice to see that, by committing to our service, we were impacting the kids — not in just cleaning up their playground, but also in letting them see that service could be fun and rewarding.”
The second, seven-people Bonner team started out the day at the University of Houston dining halls, getting ready to recover uneaten food to bring to New Hope Housing as part of their Campus Kitchens project. For this team, it was day on, not day off – they recover food every day of the week, and the occasional weekends.
After arriving at New Hope Housing – a transitional housing facility for low-income residents of the Third Ward – the Bonner team began setting up to serve lunch. The team split into two groups, one group prepared the food in the kitchen while the other served and talked to the residents. They were later joined by Program Director, Dr. Andrew Hamilton, and project leader, Sophomore Brinda Penmetsa. With everybody pitching in, the second team recovered and served more than 100 pounds of food that otherwise would have been wasted that day.
The third team started their day at Rice University to launch the Houston Scholars Writing Seminar Workshop program. In partnership with KIPP Through College, Bonner project leader Serrae Reed and her team of mentors offered their writing tutoring/mentoring services to high school juniors who are writing college application essays. They spent the session getting to know the high school students through fun activities, setting expectations and goals, and brainstorming a few writing prompts.
The mentoring sessions will continue one Saturday every month, with a possible online feedbacking component so the mentors can keep in contact with the mentees through the whole writing process. The goal is that, by the end of the semester, the mentees will have written two stellar essays that they can use for college/scholarship applications, as well as formed a writing process that works for them.
Here at the Bonner program at UH, we are proud that the culture of service is evident in everything we do. Whether it’s Saturday or any other day, Bonners never shy from an opportunity to contribute to our community, either through continuing projects or through a day of service. This semester is just starting, and we’re committed to be all in and make this semester even better than the last.