Volunteers leap to help the heights


Spring into Service volunteers gathered on Saturday during the damp morning hours to engage in community service projects around the Highland Heights and Northern Kentucky University areas.
Nearly 110 participants met in the Student Union to attend the second annual Spring into Service event either independently or with an organization. NKU students and faculty were joined by the Highland Heights community to service local areas.

“It’s important for the city and university students to be connected,” said Collette Thompson, a coordinator of the event.
Volunteers engaged in multiple projects around the area, such as building a gazebo at the new Highland Heights city building, preparing a garden at the Campbell County Extension Office and creating a volleyball court, also at the Highland Heights city building.

If volunteers decided they didn’t want to get their hands dirty, Thompson said they were given other options, like organizing the food pantry at the First Baptist Church in Highland Heights or posting door hangers on homes throughout the Highland Heights community about upcoming city events.

Several volunteers were assigned to the First Baptist Church of Highland Heights to organize the food and clothing pantry known as “Pantry of Hope.” Brandy Medough opened the food pantry shortly after graduating from NKU in 2007.

“It is difficult for us to keep the pantry organized,” Medough told volunteers, “so this is a big help.”
Several volunteers folded clothing and washed down walls to prepare for painting the area. The pantry was covered with boxes of donated items; many were designated specifically for victims of the recent tornadoes that struck the area in early March.

Volunteers of last year’s event created a “prayer garden” at the church, which will receive some upkeep during this year’s service.
Hope Marksberry, a junior environmental science major, decided to volunteer for the event because she is involved in Leadership University, which encourages students to become active in events on campus by attending eight events throughout the school year.

Marksberry said she volunteered for this event so that when she graduates, Leadership University will be a part of her diploma.
Projects were assigned to volunteers on a first-come first-served basis. All service areas were in walking distance from NKU, and volunteers who arrived first were encouraged to work at sites that were slightly farther from campus than others.

Service sites were chosen with the help of the Highland Heights City Council based on which places in the community displayed the most need for service.
After finishing up their services, volunteers were invited back to the Student Union for a pizza lunch and a raffle. Gift cards were the main prizes raffled off to attendees.
Spring into Service was sponsored by the NKU Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement and the City of Highland Heights.
“The work our volunteers did will be noticeable in the Highland Heights area for many years to come,” Thompson said.