How 4 students turned a class project into helping the York community

By Julian Leon

COMMUNITY service is a big part of York College of Pennsylvania, and four Human Services students took what it means to make a difference to another level.

Megan Hinds, Jane Halvorsen, Rachael Haag, and Abby Schreck were tasked with coming up with a unique way to raise money for a charity of their choice. The group decided to help The Lehman Center, which currently offers multiple programs and services to help children and families in the greater York area. These services include a Crisis Nursery (which is one of 3 in the State of PA), child centered therapy, and family advocacy. It also offers parent support groups, specifically The Incredible Years Parenting Program, which helps parents and children learn alternative discipline techniques as well as teen parent support groups.

Halvorsen says that knowing the group’s ties to the Lehman Center from past experiences only made this process more exciting. “The group wanted to help an organization that serves those in need,” she says. “Megan has fundraised for the Lehman Center in the past and knew of their needs. I think knowing that we’d be helping children and their families who are in need made us want to fundraise even more. The more it grew, the more excited we got to be able to give so much to the Lehman Center.”

Posing, from left, are Jane Halvorsen, Abby Schreck, Megan Hinds and Rachael Haag. (Photo by Julian Leon)

The group wanted to stand out from other groups in the class. So Hinds had come up with the idea to start an Amazon wish list that could reach people across the York community. “I believed we would reach several people on campus who had some extra things to donate,” Haag says. “Instead, we were able to reach the whole York community.”

Hinds had stressed the impact of this wish list and what it could offer. “Having an Amazon wish list allows us to involve more people than just students on campus to participate in our donation drive,” she says. “Abby and Jane were able to post the wish list on different Facebook groups and we were all able to invite our families and friends to participate, even if they weren’t local.”

This clearly proved to be true.  By the time they had completed their project, they had raised $1,221.07 in donations from the Amazon wish list and $192 in Venmo donations in addition to collecting several bags of clothes they were able to donate to the Community Aid on the Lehman Center’s behalf.

The Lehman Center, establishing in 1987, offers emergency respite care for children newborn through six years of age in a 24-hour crisis nursery, child-centered creative art  therapy, family advocate services, and parent educational and support group. (Website)

Brandon Gething, Director of Development and Marketing at the Lehman Center, stressed the importance of what these contributions mean to the center. “They have been instrumental in helping to provide volunteer services and donations to our organization,” he says. “This helps us to complete our mission by providing much needed services and help us to spread our manpower in greater ways of serving our communities.”

All four of these girls have made a difference and impacted so many lives through their philanthropy and donations.

Schreck says this project has been part of a learning process for the group during their time at York College and the importance of continuing to make a difference after they graduate.

“All four of us have spent the last few years learning what it means to be a helping professional. Leaving with our degrees in May, we’re ready to make positive changes in our communities,” she says, “This project allowed us to see just how impactful we can be and how supportive the York community is.”

Julian Leon is a senior majoring in Sport Media

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