Students to present global service experiences
Patrick Atkinson to speak at NDSU about God’s Child Project
Published: Monday, September 17, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 17, 2012 14:09
Six NDSU students have made a global impact volunteering with God’s Child Project.
These students will share their international service-learning experiences at a presentation from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Arikara Room in the Memorial Union.
Bethany Schwandt, Elizabeth Schenfisch, McKayla Artz, Elyssa Grimsby, Krista Padgett and Anne Storey went to Antigua, Guatemala to serve as a part of God’s Child Project from May 21 – 30. The students participated in a wide range of service projects: built homes, distributed clothing, visited orphanages, served meals at homeless shelters, volunteered at a malnutrition center and performed family social-work visits.
This service was a component of the course INTL 379: Global Perspectives on Civic Engagement. The course began in the spring 2012 semester, preparing the students for the service they would do in the summer in Guatemala. The international service trip was coordinated through NDSU Study Abroad and God’s Child Project in Bismarck, N.D.
Instructors for the course Courtney Barstad, Greek life coordinator, and Matthew Skoy, director of service learning and civic engagement, accompanied the students to Guatemala.
Barstad said it will be great to hear the students reflect on what they learned and the things they took away from the trip and the service.
“We’ll hear their experiences – they worked hard and got a job done, but their hearts were filled with the kids, the families and the people when they left,” she said.
The students are fired up about sharing their story with the NDSU community, Barstad said.
Patrick Atkinson, founder of Gods Child Project, will also share his experiences of 30 years of combating poverty. Atkinson, a native of Bismarck, N.D., will present from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday in Century Theater in the Memorial Union.
Atkinson will talk about his personal experiences from starting God’s Child to where he is at today, the impact he’s made serving at different places, the things he has seen and the need that is out there, Barstad said.
“The students [in our course] were really moved by his story because it is awesome to see what one person can accomplish,” she said.
Atkinsons’s presentation will offer a new perspective on service.
“A lot of people serve at a very local or state level, and that’s great,” Skoy said. “But to have an international perspective on service – that’s pretty cool. You’re really going to learn a lot about how to get involved and engaged internationally.”
Being involved with global service movements “opens up your mind, your perspectives,” Skoy explained. “Around all the differences of cultures and people and diversity, the common bond of service is a glue that can connect everyone,” he said.
Skoy and Barstad have plans to teach the global perspectives course again this spring.
God’s Child Project is an educational development organization dedicated to “breaking the chains of poverty through education and formation,” according to the organization’s website. Services they provide include clinics, schools, social work, homeless shelters, drug rehab, and human trafficking advocacy.
For more information about God’s Child Project or how to volunteer, visit www.godschild.org.