Susquehanna students volunteer at ‘Festival’ to help disabled

By Kyle Kern Staff writer

Students from Susquehanna visited the Selinsgrove Center to attend the Peace Festival on Nov. 13. The event was sponsored by Susquehanna’s Office of the Chaplain.

The Peace Festival, which is a chance for students to help mentally handicapped individuals do arts and crafts and other activities, is usually held on Susquehanna’s campus.

This year it was moved to the Selinsgrove Center to allow more disabled people to participate. A group of students from several Greek life organizations, the Chaplain’s Office and other clubs and organizations helped support the festival.

Troy Spencer, a junior who works in the Chaplain’s Office, helped organize the event. He believes that an event like this should be of interest to people.

He urged Susquehanna students to get involved in more events like the Peace Festival, because the more students that help, the more that can be done to help the community.

This year’s Peace Festival included arts and crafts and a long list of songs that were sung throughout the two-hour period.

Before the activities started, the group of student volunteers introduced themselves and expressed how excited they were to be supporting the Peace Festival.

The first activity was a Thanksgiving turkey hand craft. The student volunteers helped to distribute the paper and colored pencils to the participants. Each volunteer went from person to person helping each one draw, color and cut the Thanksgiving hand turkey.

Both the participants from the center and the student volunteers were able to talk together as they did the activities together.

To continue in the spirit of peace, the students then took time to sing a list of songs to the participants.

The volunteers, led by Chaplain Kershner, sang Christmas carols to the crowd in the Selinsgrove Center.

Why the Christmas music? Spencer said, “We play to what the participants like, and they like Christmas music.”

The list of music included renditions of popular songs like “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause,” “Silent Night,” “Jingle Bells,” “Jingle House Rock” and “Frosty the Snowman.”

During the sing-along, the volunteers passed out instruments to the participants, such as maracas and tambourines, and the crowd was free to sing along.

Sophomore Alyssa Miville enjoyed her first time helping out with the members of the community at the Selinsgrove Center. “I think it is really important to help out and spread the love and joy to one another and to be of service to others who cannot do it so easily,” Miville said. “There is always room for more love.”

Sophomore Evan Anderson also added, “I believe it is the right thing to do, to help out in the community.”

After the sing-along, the event came to a close. The volunteers helped to clean up the area and afterward visited the Selinsgrove Center chapel.

Spencer was pleased at how the event had turned out, as this was his first time organizing and attending the event.

“I think that it went well,” he said. “We had to do a little of improvising for a bit, but it seemed like the residents really loved the event, especially the singing.”

He also added that being able to be at the event meant a lot to him personally, and it was a blessing to be able to be with the residents, their caretakers and his classmates for a few hours.

Spencer also thanked the volunteers that came out to help.

“The residents and my classmates really made this [event] one to remember,” Spencer said. “Thanks again to all those who were able to be there.”

You can learn about opportunities to volunteer at events like this and others at the Johnson Center for Community Engagement located in the basement of the Degenstein Campus Center.

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