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Blinn-Bryan students volunteer to help local resident as part of community service project

Blinn Dental Hygiene Program, Student Veterans Association spend hours cleaning house, yard of Bryan homeowner

April 4, 2017

Twenty Blinn College-Bryan Campus students recently traded in their backpacks and textbooks for rakes and paint brushes as part of a community service project benefitting a local resident.

Students in the Dental Hygiene Program and Student Veterans Association (SVA) gave back to the community by volunteering to help Bryan homeowner Shelby Rowan clean her house and yard.

Rowan, a retired teacher, lives alone but has provided housing for numerous college students over the years. When Dental Hygiene Program Instructor Marque Mathis learned through mutual friends of Rowan’s difficulties completing chores around her house, she quickly mobilized Blinn student organizations to assist her.

“My students and I felt that we needed to help a community member who could not handle the amount of work that needed to be done around her house,” Mathis said. “They understand the value in giving back to the community.”

Students cleaned gutters, painted walls, trimmed trees, and raked leaves around Rowan’s residence, which is located less than a mile from Blinn’s Bryan Campus. Every first-year student enrolled in the Dental Hygiene Program turned out for the project, as well as many members of the SVA.

“Helping those in need builds our character and teaches us to be good community citizens,” first-year dental hygiene student Bethany Long said. “I do not mind the work at all. Seeing the joy on Mrs. Rowan’s face when we finished was worth it.”

Blinn’s commitment to serving the community has earned the College a spot on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest accolade an educational institution can receive from the federal government for its commitment to community, service learning and civic engagement, for the sixth time. In 2015, Blinn was recertified with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s Carnegie Classification, which places Blinn among the nation’s top 5 percent of colleges and universities in terms of documented public service.

Blinn’s Service Learning Program, which combines community service with classroom instruction and student club activities, focuses on critical, reflective thinking, and civic responsibility to engage students. Blinn’s Service Learning activities include the Dental Hygiene Program’s annual Give Kids a Smile event in Bryan, which provides exams, X-rays, cleanings, sealants and oral health education to local children without access to regular dental care; EMS, vocational nursing and associate degree nursing students volunteering at local clinics and hospitals; natural science students volunteering at local animal shelters; agricultural students working with Texas Parks and Wildlife and 4-H organizations; and social sciences students volunteering at local Democratic and Republican headquarters.

For more information about Blinn’s commitment to community service and its Service Learning Program, visit www.blinn.edu/servicelearning.