2011 Year in REACH: Stanbridge College’s Community Service Impact

2011 was a year of service, as Stanbridge College students, staff and faculty members gave their time and support to our local and global communities. Through the REACH Beyond the Classroom Service Learning and Civic Engagement Initiative, we here at Stanbridge College worked to help over 30 non-profit organizations and causes last year.

“Stanbridge College would like to thank every student, staff and faculty member for working with REACH to give back to our communities. You have made a difference for thousands of people here and around the world. We will continue to work together in 2012 to influence a positive change for our fellow man,” stated Yasith Weerasuriya, President of Stanbridge College

In a year of continued economic instability, Stanbridge College lent a hand to those who needed it the most. We supported the homeless and low-income families living in temporary housing programs in Orange County. Monthly meals were served at Lighthouse Ministries with Mariners Outreach and Project Hope School, feeding hundreds of needy families. Our volunteers assisted Veterans First OC at the 1st Annual Orange County Stand Down for homeless military veterans. With Rebuilding Together OC, we helped rebuild Mary’s Kitchen, a soup kitchen and homeless shelter. Hundreds of donations were given to the homeless including sleeping bags, blankets, warm clothes, hygienic items, toys, school supplies and food. Pet supplies and food was collected and donated to our four-legged friends living in shelters at the Orange County and Irvine Animal Care Centers.

The year also brought natural disasters, famine and drought to several parts of the world. Stanbridge College students and staff were ready and able to raise funds quickly for the victims of the tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri, the tsunami in Japan and the political turmoil in Somalia.

Throughout the year, Stanbridge supported the several organizations to provide medical services to those in need. Our Vocational Nursing students used their classroom skills to assist medical professionals at free medical, dental and visions camps open to the Orange County and Ventura County public. Cohort FTO took initiative by running the Children’s Book Drive for the children at CHOC’s Children’s Hospital of Orange County. Students, staff and faculty assisted in saving the lives of hundreds of people through our quarterly blood drives for the American Red Cross. Stanbridge College staff also raised and donated funds for 25 impoverished and blind people to receive cataract eye surgeries from the Lion’s Gift of Sight Hospital in Sri Lanka and their initiative for Vision 2020.

During the holidays, Stanbridge College partnered with Words of Comfort, Hope and Promise to support our US Marines currently serving overseas. We sent Christmas care packages of Christmas cards, food snacks and socks. Stanbridge also hosted a Christmas Toy Drive for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation and gathered toys for needy children in Orange County. On Christmas Eve, Stanbridge students and staff spent their time serving a warm Christmas meal to veterans living in transitional housing programs.

In 2009 and 2010, Stanbridge College REACH Beyond the Classroom initiative was honored by the Corporation for National and Community Service. Stanbridge College was named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for its exemplary service to America’s communities. The honor is the highest federal recognition a college can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.

In 2012, Stanbridge College hopes to increase our REACH initiative and our partnerships with local and global non-profit organizations and support their mission to help our fellow man.  We started the year off by serving food and passing out donations at the Mercy House OC Cold Weather Emergency Shelter. Currently, we are hosting a Suitcase Donation Drive for the homeless, asking those who are able to donate new or used suitcases, duffel bags, tote bags or new plastic garbage bags.

To learn more about REACH, view upcoming events and find out how you can get involved, please visit www.stanbridge.edu/reach.