Giving cheerfully and accepting gratefully

By Dawn Burns, Ivy Tech Warsaw Academic and Learning Resource Center Assistant

Pictured left to right, Sandra Anders, Ivy Tech Warsaw Student Life Coordinator and GIVE Vice President; Piper Johnson, Ivy Tech student and GIVE member

This November, Ivy Tech Warsaw is taking to heart Maya Angelou’s words, “When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”

To set the tone, the Learning Resource Center (LRC) is focusing on strengthening community through sharing resources, sharing stories, and showing gratitude. Their display features community resources and volunteer opportunities, books from storytelling projects like The Moth and StoryCorps, and an interactive board where people can share what they are grateful for.

Giving cheerfully and accepting gratefully are everyday endeavors at Ivy Tech Warsaw. Understanding that it’s hard for students to excel academically when hungry, the campus started the Basics Bank in January 2019 to provide students with food, hygiene supplies, and community resources. Meijer and Circle of Ivy stepped up to stock the shelves, and each day students take what they need to get through a day of classes or to have a meal at home.

In terms of service, the Get Involved, Value Everyone (GIVE) club has taken the lead. For Halloween, GIVE donated 36 string bags for kids containing candy, hats, gloves, socks, coloring books, and crayons to Beaman Home. For Thanksgiving, GIVE organized a food drive to provide Thanksgiving meal baskets for five Ivy Tech student families. GIVE has also committed to volunteering at We Care Warsaw, an annual service fair that attracts around 1500 community members.

 “When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” Is that really true? Our GIVE members think so.

Vice president Sandra Anders described the Christmas when she was four and had moved to Indiana with her mom after her parents divorced. “We didn’t have much,” Anders said, “but that year the Red Cross gave us a Christmas basket with food and gifts and a Christmas stocking with my name hand-stitched on it.” Anders still has that stocking which reminds her that, “Everybody at some time needs something. That Christmas made me a better person, and now I want to give back.”

While taking a break from organizing food drive donations, GIVE member Piper Johnson added, “I have really bad anxiety and depression, and helping people makes me feel better. I look at Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, and I think about how if you want to change something, you have to do it yourself. You have to become the change you want to see.”

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