The Office of Service
Wingate has an expectation that students volunteer as part of their educational experience. In order to fulfill Wingate’s motto of Faith, Knowledge, Service, Wingate has established an Office of Service that houses service learning initiatives and UCAN (University Community Assistance Network).
Forty-five students spent their spring break in Florida, Tennessee and Washington, D.C. with Habitat for Humanity's Collegiate Challenge.
UCAN (University and Community Assistance Network)
UCAN is the student-led service organization that is supported by the Office of Service. This is not a club that you have to join and there are no membership dues or eligibility requirements. UCAN’s mission statement is “Passionately serving the needs of the community, promoting advocacy about the social concerns of our society, and empowering Wingate University to make a difference.” The motto is “Live Love. Serve Others.” UCAN has several different programs that range from one-time events to year-long commitments. Our sections are:
Alternative Spring Break (ASB)
Environmental Task Force (ETF)
Habitat for Humanity
HOPE, which includes Angelic Riders
Hunger and Homelessness
Social Justice Sewing Group
Tutoring and Mentoring
My name is Heather Hamilton and I am the Student Director of UCAN. I am responsible for helping each of the coordinators with their sections, serving as a liaison between the Director of Service and the UCAN Coordinators, and building and maintaining relationships with faculty and staff. Along with these requirements, I also help plan some of our larger events such as the Halloween Carnival and MLK, Jr. Day of Service. Most importantly, I serve as a contact for anyone who has questions or ideas about volunteer opportunities. You can contact me at email@example.com or you can contact UCAN at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternative Spring Break
Alternative Spring Break is a fun and interesting way to spend your spring break. Not only do you get to travel to a different state but you get the fulfillment of helping someone who might need help. Along with volunteering you will be able to experience a new culture and a new environment. The experience is simply amazing, you won’t regret it. As a Wingate Student I also attend the Alternative Spring Break trips. My freshman year is when it all started. I went to Jacksonville, Florida to build a house for Habitat for Humanity. I didn’t know many people, but that quickly changed. A day or two into the trip the people whom were receiving these houses stopped by to help in any way they could. I met a little girl who was so delighted to get a new home. She was telling me all about the room she wanted. That moment made me realize that I was helping to make this little girls’ dream come true. Moments like that are memorable and show us that we make a difference in other people’s lives.
Environmental Task Force
Environmental Task Force is a student lead organization where students work to promote sustainability on campus through several different tasks including working with administration, faculty, and staff to facilitate a recycling program and encourage green initiatives on campus. We promote recycling at all athletics events. We collect recyclables after the football games and we have them recycled. ETF has put on many events over the years. Its annual event is Wingate Earth Day. Earth Day 2011 volunteers conducted a recycling survey for students to take so that we may receive feedback on how to recycle better on campus. New events that ETF has started to organize are the Carolina Campout and Pfeiffer event where students from Pfeiffer University travel to Wingate and vice versa for an overnight trip of service.
“My favorite and most memorable E.T.F. event has to be the Pfeiffer/Wingate event we hosted last year. We had students from Pfeiffer University come and perform service projects with the students of Wingate in the fall and we returned the favor in the spring semester. During the trips we had a bonfire, watched movies, had a casino night, and made paper cranes for the Tsunami victims. This event was so memorable because it gave not only me but other students a chance to serve with other students who shared the same cares and interests.”
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from our community. We spend a few hours of our Saturday helping repair and/or build homes that would be in rough circumstances otherwise. It is a great and easy way to make a huge difference in our Wingate community. Our task on any giving Saturday can range from putting the walls up in a new home to putting a new roof on an elderly person's damaged roof. We also spend time helping out in the Habitat Restore and the Habitat Recycling Center. This experience not only makes a life-long impact on the family's life, but it is also an extremely rewarding opportunity for the volunteers as well. I remember specifically one young man who was struggling to provide a roof for his kids. We were working on his new home one Saturday morning and he came out to help us. A huge smile came across his face when he saw twenty young college students out there helping on his house. That smile on his face is something that I will probably never forget and it makes all of our hard work seem worth it.
HOPE (Angelic Riders)
Angelic Riders is a program here at Wingate University that works with a therapeutic riding center for children and young adults with disabilities. Through therapeutic riding, riders are not limited to their own body’s abilities but are able to express themselves through the movement of a horse. At Mephibosheth Farms, located in Wingate, NC, volunteers do a range of activities from being a side-walker to farm chores. By being a volunteer with Angelic riders, students have the opportunity to learn a variety of skills and life lessons. Students also learn the importance of helping others and the effect it can have on a person’s entire life. Through working with Angelic Riders I have had so many great experiences! During one of the volunteering sessions, I had the privilege of working with a beautiful little girl named Kaitlin, who not only taught me to enjoy life but also brought me complete joy during our sessions together. I was also involved with the Pancake breakfast fundraiser, which was held at the local Applebee’s and brought in a good amount of support for Mephibosheth Farms. Throughout the time I have been involved with Angelic Riders I truly have grown with all of the new experiences and new friendships that were built along the way.
Hunger and Homelessness
Hi! My name is Chris McKethan and I am the Hunger and Homeless Outreach coordinator for UCAN. I organize and facilitate outreach opportunities to the local homeless shelter. I also organize Hunger and Homelessness Week, which is a week in November that is fully dedicated to making Wingate's campus more aware of the issues that people are facing here in American and the rest of the world. My most memorable experience was during the Poverty Simulation in Hunger and Homelessness week. During this simulation I got a firsthand experience of what it would be like to be homeless. It was interesting to see my fellow peers dealing with certain situations that people deal with everyday. As I watched them struggle to make it I thought about what people in my community who are fighting to make ends meet are thinking about. I don’t know what I would do if I was ever faced with that situation.
Students are given the opportunity to volunteer with local nursing homes and participate in events, such as the Residents Rights Celebration and work with the Council on Aging. In the past we have done various activities such as: help residents vote, make Halloween cards and deliver them to the residents, reverse trick or treating – students dress up and take residents candy instead getting candy, make Thanksgiving door hangers and take them to decorate the resident’s rooms, make Valentine’s cards and pass them out at the Nursing Home after we threw them a Valentine’s Day Dance. Those are just a few of the ways we have gotten involved with the older members of our community. Each month we plan an event that is beneficial to one of our local nursing homes. Being in college, away from home, makes it difficult to see our grandparents. When I go out to help senior citizens, I almost feel like I am spending time with my grandparents. Some of the senior citizens don’t have grandchildren and being able to bring them the joy of spending time with younger generation makes my day better.
Social Justice Sewing Group
The Social Justice Sewing Group meets weekly to do a variety of sewing, knitting, and crochet projects to benefit local nonprofit organizations. Students are able to learn skills from one another and show the community their compassion through various handmade projects. In the past, projects have included Christmas stockings, stuffed animals, puppets, and Easter bunnies! This is my third year being involved with UCAN's Social Justice Sewing Group. I started getting involved with the Social Justice Sewing group as a way to help the community, but also to be involved in something creative and fun. Throughout the years, I have enjoyed making new friends, learning how to sew projects I had no idea I could make and learning how to crochet. I was able to take time out of my busy week to sit down and focus on a fun and creative project that would be donated and make a difference in someone else's life. My favorite project that I have participated in so far was making various felt stuffed animals and puppets that were given to children in need. Not only has the Social Justice Sewing Group allowed me to become more aware of our local community needs, but it has also given me a unique opportunity to share my sewing, knitting, and crocheting skills with the community.
Tutoring and Mentoring
Tutoring and Mentoring is a UCAN group that particularly focuses on under privileged children. We are currently partnered with Wingate Elementary, East Elementary, Old Armory YWCA, Willow Oaks YWCA, and Moving Forward After School Program which is affiliated with Monroe Full Gospel Church. We are looking for volunteers to read with students, help them with homework, eat lunch with students, media assistants, and bilingual students to help with homework. Our group goes beyond helping these students with their homework. We really want Wingate University to partner with these students and give them positive role models that many of these children and teenagers have never had before. We work with students anywhere from Kindergarten to 12th grade. Tutoring and Mentoring is an amazing opportunity to sacrifice a little bit of time each week to help make a lifetime impact on these students.
This will be my third year being a reading buddy at Wingate Elementary. This has by far been one of my most rewarding experiences here at Wingate University. Each week I go out and read with the same student for thirty minutes. I usually take the first few minutes just to chat with the student, find out how their week has been, and if there is anything exciting that has happened or that is coming up. I usually try to tell the student what is going on in my life. This gives me a chance to build a relationship with the student. For most of these students, this is the only time that they have anyone that will give them this attention and listen to them read. Throughout the school year, reading with my buddy is one of the things I look forward to each week. It is so rewarding because I don't have to give anything but thirty minutes each week to help give these students the extra help that they need. Being a mentor during my time here at Wingate University has been an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.