Site Summaries (2013)
Ronald McDonald House
The Ronald McDonald House is a 27 bedroom home where families stay while their children undergo extensive medical treatment. The Ronald McDonald House is a place for parents and children live a life as normal as possible during their traumatic times without the financial burden of costly hotel and travel expenses.
Nine cadets went to the Ronald McDonald House for Leadership Day, and they were a tremendous help. The cadets spent the morning in the storage area that was filled with cleaning supplies, toys, and other things that are very important to make family’s stay as great and welcoming as possible. The cadets helped move these supplies out of the storage, label them, and then move everything back into storage neatly and organized. This effort allowed greater access to supplies when needed for future events and other functions. “Having the cadets there to help us organize this storage area greatly helps how we can get to these important necessities for our families”.
Veterans Affairs Medical Center
The Veterans Affairs Medical Center is one of our most popular community service sites for cadets. Every semester, we have more and more cadets that wish to serve at the VA. Throughout the semester, we send cadets to the VA Medical Center for weekly volunteer commitments to serve our veterans. We also have cadets work with the VA on different projects throughout the year, such as their annual Veterans Day parade.
On Leadership Day, we sent 20 cadets to the VA Medical Center. This was SGT Leroy Petry’s first stop on Leadership Day. The lobby was filled with veterans and the VA staff for the meet and greet and to shake the hand of one of our nation’s greatest heroes. Cadets did an outstanding job of interacting with the veterans and helping them fight the crowd to have a chance to meet SGT Petry. He made it clear that he wished to speak with and thank as many veterans as possible.
After SGT Petry’s visit, cadets spent a full day at the VA to serve. Cadets were set up in the VA lobby to serve cups of coffee, bagels, water, and snack packages to veterans; they also visited 50 Veteran inpatients. Additionally, cadets posted flyers around businesses along the Veterans Day Parade route to inform them of the upcoming celebratory parade put on by the VA. Later in the day, cadets sorted through hundreds of items in the storage room; they helped organize and sort through supplies that will be distrusted at the annual Stand Down Against Homelessness event.
Cannon St. YMCA
The Cannon St. YMCA is an organization devoted to helping youth in many ways. Its purpose “is to improve the lives of all in the greater Charleston area by connecting individuals, families, and communities with opportunities based on Christian values that strengthen spirit, mind, and body.” Cannon St. YMCA is one of our community partners that host cadets on weekly bases. Cadets volunteer with the YMCA during their afterschool programs, assisting the students with homework before joining in on the many recreation activities the center offers.
We sent 10 cadets to the Cannon St. YMCA on Leadership Day. Even though they only did a half-day of service there, the cadets were put to work! Cadets painted an office, the hallway, the front door, a bookshelf, cleaned the playground, and washed garbage cans. Ms. Myra Chamble, the Director of the Cannon St. YMCA said “The cadets came in ready to work and did a great job!”
Salvation Army administers many programs and services designed to build healthy relationships development in people of all ages. Salvation Army offers programs such as character building programs for youth, music training, and community-based fellowship for adults and housing assistance. The Salvation Army is a community partner that has weekly cadet volunteers during their afterschool programs.
On Leadership Day 28 cadets went to The Salvation Army for the day of service. Cadets helped landscape and restore a baseball field that is located on their property. The field will be used for the children in the afterschool program and summer camps. The cadets also did some landscaping and a trash detail on the grounds. The cadets’ hard work on Leadership Day will help provide a clean and safe environment for children and their families.
Connie Maxwell Home
A total of 9 cadets, including members of The Citadel’s chapter of Baptist Collegiate Ministries, drove to Orangeburg, SC to serve at the Connie Maxwell house for Leadership Day. The Connie Maxwell House is a home for children that have been abandoned, abused, or neglected. The cadets helped by planting over thirty shrubberies on their property in addition to helping organize the basement. They clean up the basement and disposed of supplies that were not longer useful, allowing much more room to store necessities. Towards the end of the day, the cadets met the staff at the Connie Maxwell House and learned more about their mission. Afterwards, one cadet expressed that he had his “eyes-opened to what Leadership Day was all about”. Cadets have also expressed interest in applying for a summer internship through the Connie Maxwell House.
John’s Island Rural Mission
John’s Island Rural Missions is a local non-profit organization that has been around for 45 years. Their mission is to foster, promote and administer to the social, educational, medical and housing requirements of the rural people of the sea islands of coastal South Carolina. Citadel cadets have been volunteering with John’s Island Rural Missions for over five years. This year was no exception. A team of 12 cadets preformed their service learning with John’s Island Rural Missions for Leadership Day. They poured and laid concrete for the foundation of a new home as well as building a storage shed from scratch. The cadets on that team expressed how happy they were to be a part of someone’s future happiness when the home is finally complete. This team was just one out of many teams of cadets that learned what it means to be a principled leader through Leadership Day.
First African Child Development Center
The First African Child Development Center is a preschool and afterschool program for children from the ages of one to twelve. Twenty-two cadets went to the FACDC and helped renovate their outdoor playground, garden, and fence. Additionally, to insure that during the summer the metal equipment would be blocked from the sun’s heat, they built structures over the playground equipment. In the garden area, cadets painted and fixed a structure for a possible picnic table or chairs to go in the shade, and a fence was repaired and painted. FACDC is a new community partner with the Citadel and we hope to create a mentor program for cadets to mentor and help individual students throughout the year. This would allow children of FACDC to learn about college and have cadet support in their lives.
South Carolina Oyster Restoration & Enhancement (SCORE) Program
Part of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the SCORE program aims to restore and enhance oyster habitat by planting recycled oyster shells in the intertidal environment to form new, self-sustaining oyster reefs all with the help of volunteers. This community-based habitat restoration project allows oysters to play their natural and significant role in the ecology and economy of South Carolina.
On Leadership Day, 15 cadets went to SCORE’s site off of Fort Johnson Road and bagged oyster shells to be dropped into the waterways for reef restoration. In just a few hours of service, the group of cadets bagged 501 bags of oysters, working at a pace 2x the average worker. It was projected that all of the work accomplished that day will help construct a reef for 75000 oysters, which will act to filter 187000 gallons of water hourly.
Shaw Community Center
Throughout the year, The Citadel works with Charleston Therapeutic Recreation. Cadets help adults and children with special needs learn new sports and help athletes get ready for the Special Olympics. These sports include tennis, swimming, bowling, basketball, and bocce. Every year Jennifer Molizon, the therapeutic recreation coordinator, puts together a big service opportunity for cadets on Leadership Day, and this year was no different. Forty cadets helped renovate the Shaw Community Center. Cadets cleaned and organized storage rooms, painted the entire interior of the center, scraped paint off the floor and windows, did pressure washing, pulled weeds, raked, swept, and attached fencing. Also, some of the cadets showed their artistic sides and painted some beautiful canvases to decorate the walls of the Shaw Center. Jennifer Molizon reported that it was a huge success!
The Green Heart Project at Zucker Middle School
The Green Heart Project is 501©3 non-profit and community-supported volunteer organization that pairs local volunteers with urban youth in an effort to teach the knowledge needed for a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, reiterating math & science curriculum in an outdoor classroom setting while instilling the virtues of hard work and success through urban gardening and service learning.
On Leadership Day, 24 cadets went to Zucker Middle School, located in North Charleston, to assist in establishing a new community garden and outdoor classroom. Cadets completed a full day of service; they assisted with digging a trench around the garden and filling it with pea gravel in order to help alleviate flooding issues that had been plaguing the site. Additionally, they helped prepare and smooth out the foundation for the shaded outdoor classroom. Their service that day served as a major catalyst in getting Zucker’s Green Heart Project up and running.
Florence Crittenton Programs of South Carolina
Florence Crittenton is a non-profit residential-facility for young, pregnant women between the ages of 10 and 21. The overarching goal is to aid each young mother in taking ownership of her pregnancy and her life, so that she will make educated, beneficial choices for herself, her baby, and the community in which she lives. With the help of this organization, these girls and young women deliver healthy babies, complete educational requirements, and receive appropriate counseling. They also acquire a sense of independence and accomplishment, so that they may become self-sufficient, successful adults.
On Leadership Day, 10 cadets went to Florence Crittenton for a half-day of service. Some cadets worked on organizing donations in the “point closet.” The point closet is a closet full of clothes, bottles, books, cribs, etc. that is accessed by clients at Florence Crittenton at the end of the week; it is a reward for earning points from attending educational and skills groups. Because most girls go through the closet with excitement, the cadets had the responsibility of refolding, resorting, and reorganizing clothing and other items donated. Other cadets worked diligently in the back and front yards of the house, raking numerous bags of dead, fallen leaves, and making the outside space more appealing to clients.
Charleston Parks Conservancy
The Charleston Parks Conservancy is a non-profit organization designed to beautify parks in the Charleston area through the efforts of community volunteers. It connects individuals and organizations to their communities through the shared interest and efforts of utilizing, beautifying, and maintaining the green spaces in their neighborhoods.
On Leadership Day, 9 cadets were mobilized into a park at the corner of Magnolia Rd. and Sycamore Ave. in West Ashley for a half-day of service. This space is an old green space that was bought by the Charleston Parks Conservancy to be transformed into a Community Vegetable Garden for the Magnolia-Sycamore community. The cadets helped clear off vines and dead shrubs from the fence in addition to helping build raised flower beds out of wood.
As part of Leadership Day, the SHARE Project sent 73 teams of freshman students, led by trained sophomores into 18 schools in Charleston County. Each team was comprised of approximately 10 freshmen, and 2-3 sophomore leaders. A total of 677 freshman led by 195 sophomores. The student teams led Charleston County School District (CCSD) students in an activity designed to increase their awareness of heroism and service to others. Participating CCSD schools included those from the Innovation Zone Learning Community, comprised primarily of Title I schools with large numbers of at-risk students. Several schools served will also be Charleston Promise Neighborhood schools, which are targeted for additional support due to a high percentage of children living in poverty. Fifteen Citadel graduate students in the School Psychology graduate program also served as site coordinators. Twenty MECEP/NOC evaluated the leadership of the sophomores as well as completed an integrity checklist at each CCSD school participating in the SHARE project.