Big Service in the Big Apple

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Gardner-Webb University Students Reflect on Recent Service Trip

Group photo at the Bowery
The Gardner-Webb Team poses for a picture at the Bowery: front row, from left, are Jared McMurry, Micah Martin, Riley Robinson, Hailey Dollard and Emmaleigh Efird; second row, Jay Humphries, Chye Anne Raye, Destiny Neesmith, Tori Collie, Leslie Watts, Nathan Wray, Tracy Arnold and Brian Arnold; third row, Jenny Humphries, Greg Humphries, Mary-Hannah Grubbs, Austin Childress, Joseph Bragdon, Sarah Bragdon, Hayley Adams, Jade Clark and Hadassah Winters.

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—A group of 16 students from Gardner-Webb University traveled to New York City on their fall break for a trip that combined sightseeing and service. Led by staff members from the GWU Division of Student Development, the team visited landmarks and volunteered in the Big Apple.

“The students were able to see different ways in which they can serve,” reflected Brian Arnold, director of Student Activities, Campus Recreation and New Student Orientation. “We were able to take time to put the needs of others before ourselves.”

While helping the West Side YMCA manage its Fit for All 5K in Riverside Park, the group met actress Drew Barrymore. Students worked as race marshals, manned water stations or the play area, and helped with event tear down. They also spent a day at the Bowery Mission serving meals for the homeless, organizing the pantry, unloading food trucks and working in the clothes closet. Established in 1879, the organization is the oldest homeless/transitional ministry in the country. Some of the places the group visited were the Empire State Building, the 9/11 Museum and Memorial, Times Square, Central Park, Statue of Liberty and the Rockefeller Center.

Serving at the Bowery was a favorite part of the trip for Austin Childress of Mocksville, N.C. He separated fruit and worked to get the pantry ready for Thanksgiving. “While I did not work directly with the people we were serving, I learned a new perspective of service and a new respect for the behind-the-scenes work,” Childress observed.

Haddie WintersHaddie Winters of Lancaster, S.C., had heard about the Bowery from a friend at Gardner-Webb and was excited to see and learn about the ministry. Although she often visits family in New York, she had never been to the city. She enjoyed learning how to get around on the subway and visiting Times Square. “I don’t think I was aware of just how diverse New York City is,” she shared.

Other students who participated in the trip were Jade Clark of Shelby, N.C., Nathan Wray of Gastonia, N.C., Sarah Bragdon and Joseph Bragdon of Anderson, S.C., Victoria Collie of Newton, N.C., Leslie Watts of Ararat, N.C., Mary-Hannah Grubbs of Leasburg, N.C., Carlee Winstead of Sneads Ferry, N.C., Hailey Dollard of Lebanon, Tenn., Hayley Adams of Charleston, S.C., Destiny Neesmith of Kings Mountain, N.C., Chye Anne Raye of Rutherfordton, N.C., Riley Robinson of Marion, N.C., and Emmaleigh Efird of Murrells Inlet, S.C.

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university that prepares students to become critical thinkers, effective leaders and compassionate servants in the global community. Emphasizing a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics, Gardner-Webb ignites learning and service opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. Ignite your future at