By WESLEY ROBINSON
Eighteen members of a student group recently “adopted” the children at Hope’s Wings Domestic Violence Shelter.
Members of Alpha Phi Sigma visited Hope’s Wings for a game night Nov. 2. The event was part of a larger initiative by the criminal justice national honor service fraternity to get more involved in the community, said Hoai Robinette, president of the service fraternity.
“We just want to show the kids that we care,” said Robinette, 21, a criminal justice and police studies senior from Elizabethtown. “We [also] want to give people the experience of working with children in the field.”
At the game night, students played popular board games like Sorry!, Battleship. They also went outside to play Red light/Green light. Robinette said they hope to visit the center regularly to help give kids an outlet from the secure life at a domestic violence shelter.
Paige Geary, 18, a criminal justice freshman from Georgetown, made candy bags for students and said she enjoyed spending time mentoring the kids at the center. She said is considering working with youth and initiatives like this help kids stay on the right track when they see that people care.
Alpha Phi Sigma has won the national award for service for the past two years, said the campus adviser James Wells. He said up until this semester, Wells’ advisees provided community service in Lexington. He this is one of the best groups of students he’s dealt with in his 19 years at Eastern.
“That’s what I like best about my job, working with high ability students who care about things,” Wells said.
Jennifer Lainhart, executive director of Hope’s Wings, said the service fraternity approached the center about volunteering at the shelter, specifically with children.
Lainhart said people from the criminal justice department have volunteered before and are generally good volunteers. One thing that helps is having male volunteers to be strong role models.
Law enforcement works to serve the community and volunteering at Hope’s Wings is an opportunity to help kids in need, said John Gordon, 20, a criminal justice junior from Paducah. Gordon said he plans on “You’ve got to find what interests the child,” Gordon said. “Start small with whatever you can do to make them comfortable.”
Lainhart said she welcomes Eastern students and hopes students apply to volunteer because of the effect it will have on someone’s life.
“It sets the tone of the type of person you’re going to become,” Lainhart said. “If you volunteer, it changes you as person.”
In addition “adopting” the kids and the game night, Alpha Phi Sigma is giving Hope’s Wings $250 to help fund the non-profit. The service fraternity is also partnering with the Golden Key International Honor Society to give holiday gifts through Hope’s Wings. The groups are taking donations and will deliver the gifts Dec. 6. There will also be handmade items from inmates at the Federal Medical Center.
Prisoners make scarves, blankets, mittens and other, said Norma Canipe, 52, from Myrtle Beach, S.C. at last year’s event at the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Center. Canipe said enjoys giving the finished products to those in need.
“It makes me feel like I’m touching someone’s heart because I’m giving,” Canipe said.
Alpha Phi Sigma and Golden Key will hold a wrapping party Dec. 4 in Room 300 of the Stratton Building. To donate with these organizations, contact Hoai Robinette at firstname.lastname@example.org.