Connecting with Community
On March 19, Mount students went into the town of Emmitsburg to participate in a neighborhood cleanup day, organized by the Office of Social Justice.
An email was sent to the Mount community with information about the cleanup day. There would be two different groups to serve the local community from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. to help with various forms of yard work.
Katie Smith (C’23), a leader for Core noted that the cleanup day is a partnership with the Seton Center. “Mount students go to different homeowners in the Emmitsburg area to assist them with their homes,” Smith said.
She mentioned that each cleanup day is different. In the past, students have gone to farms where they have mucked stalls, weeded fields and done some gardening as well as cleaned windows and trimmed bushes. Emmitsburg cleanup day is not limited to just outside work. Some residents have needed help with simple tasks, such as vacuuming their house. Which tasks students complete depend on the needs of the homeowners.
The Assistant Director for Campus Ministry and Social Justice and leader of the Emmitsburg Neighborhood Cleanup Day, Brendan Johnson, explained the history behind the event, “In partnership with the Seton we hope that the students would build deep connections with the local community.”
“Northern Frederick County experiences a lot of poverty and I wanted to give students an opportunity to serve locally to support the needs of the community,” he continued.
The goal of these cleanup days has been to give students the opportunity to understand the needs of the community that they live in. Many of the students at the Mount do not live in the same state as their school. When people are not permanently residents of a town, it can be easy to unknowingly overlook what is happening in that community. However, these cleanup days allow students to go out in the local community and learn more about it. Johnson stated, “people can too often become nothing but statistics, but once people are in that community, they can make a personal connection.”
“Students should not only learn more about the needs of their community, but also build relationships with fellow students and community members. There is so much we can learn from others, and the ability to build relationships with others in the community is important,” added Smith.
Johnson hopes that students can get the sense that service can happen in many different ways and in many different communities. But most importantly, he said that he hopes that they get a sense that when we look to serve often, we don’t have to look much further than our own neighborhood.
What both appear to be saying is that through service of any type, we will find connections to and relationships in our communities that will hopefully assist us in return when we are in need. We cannot live in a community without having an impact and serving that community in a positive way is best for building and keeping meaningful relationships.