Forward Wayne County is focused on volunteering and service this month. We asked Tim Pierson from Bridges for Life to share about his experiences.

“He’s Cold and Doesn’t Have a Blanket”
Quote from a local student while volunteering at a Friday night meal program

It’s not too hard for me to imagine someone not having a blanket and being cold. I have interacted with many people from and on the streets that were in this exact situation. I have learned that this is a reality for some. Similarly, I can easily imagine someone hungry without food, or someone lonely without a friend, or even someone sick without care.

My experiences with people in need have empowered me to discover this. How about my young friend though? He was concerned, troubled, and truly saddened by this cold, blanketless man. It was almost mysterious to him in a way; like he just did not understand how this could happen. Perhaps he has a closet full of blankets collected as gifts. It must have been a little thought provoking for him.

Learning Through Experience

So why the disconnect? Doesn’t this young man’s school have a curriculum to teach him about the needs of the poor…most likely yes. How about his church? Surely they have informed him in regards to the fact that there are people on the street who are cold with no way to warm themselves? Even media, such as movies and shows, have most certainly shown him a glimpse
of these types of needs at some point?

I imagine that if this student was told a hundred times about the needs of the poor, that he would have never learned it and understood it the way he did that Friday night?

When the parents of this young man reached out to Bridges for Life about volunteering as a family, they may or may not have expected the experience to impact him in this way. He didn’t just learn. about real needs in his community. He learned about resources and how resources can be shared to meet that need.

Service Learning

Service learning can be defined as a method of teaching where students (regardless of age) participate in a community service activity. It is distinguished by the act being mutually beneficial to the server and the recipient. Providing an opportunity for someone to learn through experience creates a unique learning environment. Knowledge is transferred, like with any learning, but the lens is changed. Gaining understanding through personal experience and ‘hands-on’ encounters sends roots of learning deep in the mind and the heart of the learner.

It’s fun to imagine how far the effects of this encounter could reach from a seemingly normal Friday, night isn’t it? School is in session 8-3 most places. However, we shouldn’t dismiss the community classrooms all around our county.

Much to see, much to experience, and much to learn! Take a look at the nonprofit resources in Wayne County and plan your next field trip. You will find a willing partner without much effort and, just maybe, you will find a need that is waiting for you to meet!

Bridges for Life

Bridges for Life is a local nonprofit providing social services support to individuals and families. They are located at 100 N. 10th street in Richmond. Their Friday night meal program, Dinner at the Lamp, provides community members an opportunity to receive a hot meal while also gaining access to a
variety of community resources. They rely on, and welcome, volunteers (of all ages) to help serve guests.

You can contact Tim by email or by calling 765-396-0050

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