Nearly 400 students from The Master’s University (TMU) took to the streets of Newhall Thursday to discover how to serve the community and engage as volunteers.
The all-day, voluntary event was the first part of TMU’s Engage Week, where students volunteer to serve various churches within a two-hour radius Thursday evening through Sunday evening, according to TMU’s Director of Global Outreach and Professor of Global Studies Lisa La George.
“About 370 students signed up, it’s voluntary,” La George said. “It would actually be their fall break if they didn’t do it so that’s 40 percent of our students who volunteered to participate.”
This was the first year the TMU students went out into the community to participate in the “Newhall Discover Day” as part of their efforts during Engage Week.
In teams led by student leaders, the TMU undergraduates traveled to three different stations that included a tour of the Newhall Community Center, work with the SCV Pregnancy Center at the Canyon Theatre Guild with and a scavenger hunt throughout Old Town Newhall.
“They put foot power to it,” La George said. “We had them park to wherever they were starting and then they’ve walked across all of the rest of this.
Students were assigned different session times to participate in the three stations throughout Newhall. At the SCV Pregnancy Center, about 250 students spoke with the organization’s representatives about the work they do and the populations they serve.
“It’s been super cool to see the way they’re reaching out to women who are having unplanned pregnancies and need help making decisions,” said junior Paige Miller, who is studying English and family and consumer sciences.
At the Newhall Community Center, Julie Calderon, the city’s community services supervisor, along with additional community representatives shared information with the students about what the community center does, who they work with and how students can participate and work at the center.
A favorite among the students was the scavenger hunt throughout Old Town where students explored small businesses, stores, coffee shops, theaters and more.
“I’ve never actually walked down these streets before so there’s a lot more here than I thought and there’s a lot more people that are out here than I realize,” said senior Luke Riffle, who is studying biblical languages. “To know and be known by the community is cool.”
Now, the students hope others will travel throughout Newhall during their time at TMU as well.
“I would encourage everyone to walk downtown sometime,” Miller said.
The overall goal for the day was to engage students in the community by having them interact with Santa Clarita residents and with organizations that could offer them volunteer or career opportunities.
“We want them to recognize the people around them and care,” La George said. “I hope that they actually make relationships in the community, that they get to know people, that they frequent the businesses and that they understand that wherever they go in life there’s going to be a community around them. That’s just part of being human.”
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