Check out this article in the Morning Sentinel about Colby Cares Day:
It’s not too late to sign up!
Working at Maine General is an inspiring and fulfilling way to get into the medical field. Not only get experience from a doctor’s perspective, but really every aspect of a hospital setting. Students have opportunities in the emergency department, day surgery, pharmacy, endoscopy, and many other departments. In my own work in the emergency department, I am amazed at how much of a team effort a hospital environment is, and how smoothly Maine General’s team works as one unit. From the doctors and nurses, to the pharmacists and technicians, to the custodial staff, every member plays an integral role in the patient-care system. It is also wonderful to be able to interact with the many different patients and to really feel like you are helping within our Waterville community. In my own personal experience, I have been most inspired by the passion of the people around me. Talking to one of the ER physicians one day, he said he felt extremely lucky to be able to do something he loves so much as a career, saying, “You basically get paid to listen to people’s stories and learn about their amazing lives. It’s a wonderful thing.”
Unfortunately in the coming months, some of Maine General’s most important departments will be moving down to its second campus in Augusta. While Waterville’s location will be receiving a beautiful new renovation we hope that Colby students will continue in their involvement with Maine General’s Waterville campus and bridge the gap between our college boundaries and the wonderful ton beyond.
At around 8am we slowly gathered in the Eustis parking lot, carrying huge boxes of food that we were meant to distribute into our little luggage bags before departure. Despite the gloomy weather and grogginess, we were all excited that all the preparation from the past few months was finally going to pay off. After a few struggles buying tickets and getting lost, we finally arrived in New York, drunk with fatigue, hungry, but still pumped for the week! That night, we sat around a huge table over a Salvadorian dinner and began building friendships as we shared our most embarrassing Colby moments!
Over the course of the week, we helped to serve meals in a huge basement at St Francis Xavier Church, bussed tables at Part of the Solution (POTS), packed lunches for four-hundred old people at the Meals on Wheels Program, and restocked shelves at Westside Campaign Against Hunger. On Monday, the rain and a little snow got the better of us because we had planned to go to Central Park and all the museums we had ever heard of were closed.
On Tuesday, we woke up to the best day of our ASB experience! After a relaxing morning in the park, we headed to POTS in the Bronx. POTS is a multifaceted organization that not only serves food, hot meals as well as groceries, to the homeless and low income people, but also provides services such as dental care, legal services, and job searches to help people get back on their feet. However, our work in the afternoon was only with helping out with the distribution of hot meals. As a group, we were assigned different jobs. Some of us were in the kitchen preparing plates and washing dishes while others were out in the dining area serving food and cleaning tables. We were all impressed with the style and efficiency of the POTS. The hot meal distribution was set up more like a restaurant than a food kitchen, which was more welcoming and dignifying for everyone involved. After our shift at POTS, we headed over to The Highline, which is an old railroad track that was converted into a Park that looks over the city. On our way home from the park, we got stuck in a Subway station due to an accident that had occurred earlier in the day. The delay was great because we got to listen and sing along to “My Girl” with talented musicians at the station.
Overall, the ASB experience was overwhelmingly enriching! At the end of each day, we had edifying reflections and discussions about the work we were doing and what it means to us. We spoke of the circumstances that lead people to such situations and how we all could contribute to alleviating these problems. We often felt frustrated as we wanted to do more than we could, but as we learnt from POTS, “If you can’t do great things, do small things in great ways!” The gratitude of the people we worked with was incredible; the words “thank you” and “God bless you” were frequently heard, and they never lost their meaning or gravity. Simply a smile and a willingness to partake in conversation allowed us to make connections with and learn about others. Some people would call us over just to ask us how we were today, and to thank us. None of us could fully understand the lives that these individuals lived, but through hearing their stories, we were reminded of how often we forget the importance of the little things, how we are quick to assume or judge someone without knowing his or her story, how seeing the content on people’s faces makes the work more than worth it!
Hardy Girls Healthy Women complete another Girls Unlimited Conference at Colby College. Hundreds of 4th-8th graders girls engaged in leadership development and social activism projects to bring back to their respective schools. Many of the girls received awards for their distinguished activism work in the community. Lots of fun and laughter was had by all!
Want to learn more? Watch this video.
Check out the amazing Colby Cares Day display in Diamond! It includes information, images, and relics from past Colby Cares Day events.
Five Colby students and I volunteered at the Unitarian Universalist Church’s Evening Sandwich Program in Waterville Friday from 2-5 PM. We made a variety of sandwiches and soup/casseroles and served well-balanced meals to locals to eat at home with their families. Along with soup and sandwiches, the locals have a selection of local organic vegetables, breads, fruits, milk and desserts to choose from every day to complement their meals.
In between sandwich making and serving meals, we relaxed drinking tea, chatting with Waterville volunteers Alice and Rich, and played with Buddy, their puppy! ESP is always the perfect mix of volunteering and interacting with Waterville residents, and relaxing and socializing at the end of a busy week.
With food donations from Barrels Community Market, from local citizens of Waterville, and from local grocery stores, such as Hannaford’s, the Evening Sandwich Program is able to provide a healthy, balanced meal to those in need right here in Waterville. In doing so, the Evening Sandwich Program and all its volunteers are able to promote healthy eating, as well as local, sustainable and organic meals!
This past week, a group of ten Colby students with an eclectic mix of class years, majors and backgrounds traveled to Nicaragua through the CVC’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program. The group spent the week building the foundation of a small school in a small rural community called Las Cebitas, about 45 minutes outside of the capital of Managua. After helping local masons by digging six-foot holes, mixing dozens of loads of concrete, and bending countless meters of rebar, the group had the opportunity to visit Nicaraguan historical sites including the former national palace, the Sandino memorial, and Coyotepe, a 19th century fortress used as political prison and torture chamber by the Somoza regime up until the early 1980’s. Even more than volunteering their time and learning about the history and culture of the beautiful Central American nation, the group enjoyed the opportunity to get to know the people of Las Cebitas by working side-by-side the masons and playing with their kids. Each and every Colby student on the trip was profoundly impacted by the experience and (reluctantly) left Nicaragua with a new understanding of both the culture and people of the area and the global processes of inequality and service.
The journey to Las Cebitas, however, began long before the group departed Mayflower Hill towards Logan. The group has been engaged in educational seminars led by Colby Professors and staff in order to be better prepared to reflect on their experience in Nicaragua. In addition, one of the goals of ASB is to offer the experience to all Colby students regardless of their socio-economic situation. The CVC is able to do this principally through the Goldfarb Center ASB Financial Aid Initiative, and with strong support from the Latin-American Studies Department, Student Government Association, Campus Life, and the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation. The group raised their remaining fee through bottle drives and coat checks on campus and through various off-campus donors. The trip would not have been possible without the contributions of these parties, and the participants are incredibly grateful for this support.
If you would like to learn more about leading and participating in Alternative Spring Break next year, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.