Webster University celebrates 40 years in Kansas City with yearlong community service project

Over 50 volunteers pledged 40 hours of community service at Kansas City agencies

Kansas City, MO, November 29, 2012 – In November 2011, Webster University-Kansas City initiated the 40 HOURS/40 VOLUNTEERS/40 YEARS project to celebrate the campus’ 40th anniversary in 2012. Initially, the goal was to enlist 40 alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends of Webster KC to dedicate 40 hours of community service to a local charity/nonprofit organization. Each volunteer received a 40th anniversary T-shirt to wear as they volunteered.

By this November, the project exceeded its initial goal with over 50 volunteers dedicating 40 hours of community service at thirty-six Kansas City area agencies including: Harvesters, Rose Brooks, KC Free Health Clinic, Habitat for Humanity, Jackson County CASA, Reach Out and Read, Bridging the Gap, Continua Hospice among others.

Academic Advisor, Wally Lovett, the first to complete his 40 hour pledge, said volunteering for Morning Glory Ministries Emergency Assistance has made an impact on his life. He sent an email to the staff with his thoughts after his first day:

Today was a real eye opener. Jobless Homeless People needing help on clothes, utilities, food and a lot of other things. I met a father and mother with two kids today living under a bridge on Broadway; sleeping outdoors. I am assisting the Director of Emergency Assistance for Morning Glory Ministries. This is going to be a real experience.

After completing his 40 hour pledge at Charity Thrift in Independence, faculty member, Dr. Sam Ojiaka said it was quite an experience and would like to do it again in the future. “It gave me such a wide experience to get to know people. Some asked questions about my T-shirt and I explained the purpose to them. Some did not know about Webster and I told them about the programs that we offer.”

Nursing student Liz Glass said, “My experience at Uplift, Inc. touched me and opened my mind. In the middle of summer heat, dedicated volunteers go out in a van and feed homeless people across Kansas City. But not too many people realize that the volunteers cook homemade food. The homeless are extremely grateful for what they receive.”

The campus recently held a “Thank You” reception for agency representatives and volunteers and collect ideas for continuing Webster KC’s community outreach efforts. Laura Long, Volunteer Coordinator from Reach Out and Read KC, suggests engaging a large group to volunteer as readers. Alicia Pernaw, Volunteer Services Manager with Harvesters suggests utilizing group and team building activities.

Faculty member Steve Gaffen attended the reception said, “I’m proud to be a faculty member where they care so much about the community. The students appreciate this effort and know it an important part of their Webster University experience.”

Dr. Carolyn Cottrell, Regional Director at Webster University-Kansas City says, “By celebrating our 40-year dedication to Kansas City with this project, we’ve had experiences that resonate with one of our core values: education is not only academic theory, but also active involvement. It is through personal interaction with our communities and our world that the real learning comes home.”

For more information about Webster University-Kansas City’s 40 HOURS/40 VOLUNTEERS project visit Webster KC’s blog.

Webster University (www.webster.edu) was established in St. Louis, MO in 1915 on the principle of providing a higher education to those who might not possess the opportunity to obtain one. Originally named Loretto College, it was one of the first Catholic women’s colleges west of the Mississippi River. It was progressive for its time, providing higher education to women when it was not generally made available. Today Webster is the only Tier 1, private, non-profit U.S.-based university providing a network of metropolitan, military and corporate locations around the world, as well as traditional residential campuses in Asia, Europe and North America. The university is committed to delivering high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.

Webster University’s Kansas City Metropolitan Campus (www.webster.edu/kc), at 104th & Holmes Rd., was founded in 1972 as the first extended campus outside of St. Louis and the first Webster campus to offer a practical higher education option for working adults. Today, Webster KC offers bachelor’s degree programs in nursing and business and master’s degree programs in business administration, management, counseling, nursing and education.

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