RIO GRANDE, Ohio – Students in the University of Rio Grande’s Bunce School of Education are working to make a difference in the Gallia County community.
Dr. Sangeeta Gulati’s multicultural relations class decided to give back to Friends of Gallia County’s Animals, a volunteer organization which fosters stray, rescue, shelter or abandoned animals in the area. She said the students set up donation boxes for pet supplies such as food, toys, dishes, collars and leashes around campus and presented the items as well as a monetary donation to the group.
“The students come up with ideas for the service projects and decide which to take on. The idea is to help the community, and animals are part of the community,” Gulati said. “These students have put their heart and soul into this project. They are my window to the future, and I’m very proud of them.”
Jessica Taylor, a junior intervention and early childhood education double major from Bidwell, said presenting the check was a bittersweet moment because it means they have completed their project, but she hopes to continue creating awareness for the organization.
“It was amazing that we could all come together from different backgrounds and put all our effort toward something as great as Friends of Gallia County Animals’ cause,” Taylor said. “The volunteers use their time and money to help these animals. The class wanted to give back and help them because of the wonderful work they do fostering animals and making sure they are cared for while they are waiting on their forever homes.”
Gulati said the idea behind the class is to give her students a better idea of different concerns around the world, and teach them to create global awareness once they become teachers.
“The motto for the class is ‘Think Globally. Act Locally,’ which means to think of global issues such as poverty or hunger, and then think of ways to help in our community and create awareness for the problem,” Gulati said. “All of these students are going to be teachers and can be role models for their students by teaching them how to deal with societal issues and give back to their communities.”
Crystal Rankin, a volunteer with Friends for Gallia County’s Animals, said she and fellow volunteer Patty Jones thought they were coming to Gulati’s class to raise awareness for the organization and were completely surprised to find the students had a donation for the cause.
“We want to help unwanted animals find a real forever home. We are very thankful for what these students have done for us,” Rankin said. “We are completely volunteer, and donations are so important to making sure we can continue our work with the animals.”
Rachel Northup, a junior early childhood education major from Gallipolis, said she was thrilled to be a leader in her own community by helping the organization.
“As education majors, we are very passionate about being nurturing and helping others. We also love animals as much as we love teaching, so this was a perfect project,” Northup said. “I grew up here in and it feels great to give back to an organization from my home.”
Anyone interested in more information about Friends of Gallia County’s Animals can visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/friendsgca or mail them at P.O. Box 252, Rio Grande OH 45674.
Jessica Patterson is a communications specialist for the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College.