Think about your life for a moment. Think about the simple necessities that we all often take for granted: a roof over your head ... food in your refrigerator ... clothes in your closet ... a vehicle to get you to and from your everyday activities. These are the normalcies that we don’t typically think of because they have been constants our entire lives, but that isn’t the case for everyone.

Earlier this month, a team from Grantham University’s Admissions Department was given the opportunity to give back to Hillcrest Transitional Housing of Kansas. Hillcrest offers homeless families, singles and youth a disciplined educational program within a caring, supportive environment. Unlike many organizations that focus on one-time or emergency care, Hillcrest’s primary objective is to move clients from homelessness to self-sufficiency within 90 days by addressing the total life situation of the homeless families they serve.

I had the opportunity this week to catch up with admissions team members Mike Selck and Angie Kennedy, and hear about their Grantham Gives Back experience:

With so many organizations to choose from, what made Hillcrest stand out for you?

Mike: I enjoy working with smaller non-profits where the impact of volunteering really translates into a community-driven engagement. The fact that Hillcrest can help its members become 100% self-sustainable in 90 days is incredible and it is something I would love to see available for more and more transient youth.

Angie: Our team decided to kick start signing up for volunteering at the beginning of the year. We were excited to hear that we were given additional volunteer hours to do something collaboratively with other team members. We were pumped to find out that Hillcrest was in need of some help, and we wanted to do what we could to extend a helping hand!

What types of activities did you do while you were there?

Mike: At Hillcrest we completely renovated their entire front office area. We applied new coats of paint with accent walls and color compliments. Naturally, we moved all their furniture and did an overall spring cleaning, as well. The final objective we took on was doing some renovations to their garden area, making sure the weeds were addressed and their irrigation system was working.

In your opinions, what are the most important things about giving back to the community?

Angie: Not only does it strengthen the community, it genuinely creates a good feeling. It's easy to get inspired with a cause you truly care about and it's rewarding to see what a difference eight hours of your time can make for others. It is something that brings people together.

Mike: Put simply, I am motivated to give back because I have the ability. Not everyone has had the same opportunities I have had in life and I acknowledge that so much of my opportunity has been created through my privilege. It's important to me to give back because there are so many out there who are incredibly deserving and haven't had access to the same privilege. I believe Spider-Man's Uncle Ben said it best: "With great power comes great responsibility."

Hillcrest has an amazing program. Has anything personally sparked your interest in being involved?

Angie: One of our valued admissions representatives mentioned that she used to be a part of (the Hillcrest) program. Just seeing how far along she has come was truly inspiring! Grantham has been working with Hillcrest since I started working here and they have always been an organization worthy of being supported.

There is nothing quite like seeing the impact one day of service can make. This year, Grantham is celebrating 65 years of service by providing more opportunities to give back to our communities.

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