In an effort to better engage with the communities around our campuses, the President’s Torch Society will have service outings to area organizations across the Middle Georgia region. The first one was held this week in Eastman.
Led by Gary Hermsmeier (Torch rep from the Eastman Campus and Community Service Co-Chair), the Society organized a service outing to Communities in Schools of Dodge County. They opted for two days at the after-school program (we will be there again next Tuesday), to accommodate member class schedules.
Eight members (half the inaugural class) volunteered this week, accompanied by their fellow students from the Aviation Honor Society, Eastman SGA, and Women in Aviation. All told, we had about 25 MGA students (from the Macon, Warner Robins, Cochran, and Eastman campuses) serving 70 elementary and middle school children in the Dodge county community. They played games, found fun ways to help the children with math/reading/memory skills, and had creative activities like face painting, chalk drawing, and making valentine cards.
Not only did the Society rally fellow Eastman students–the kind of leadership the honorary society was created to foster–but one of our Aviation students got in flight hours through a demo of an MGA helicopter. Torch members also worked with Public Safety to get a demo of one of our police cruisers, and used a local contact with the volunteer fire department to bring a fire truck.
The look on those children’s faces when that helicopter landed in their field was incredible! Even better was an 8 year old girl asking, “can girls fly helicopters?” and hearing a decided “yes!” from one of our female flight students. And a little boy who said, “I want to go to jail,” hearing, “no you don’t, you want to go to college.”
Institutionally, it was a unifying event—the first time some of our Macon and WR students had ever been to Eastman. And the first time some of our Aviation students met colleagues from other schools and campuses. This week, they were all simply Knights doing service together.
Local media (the Eastman Examiner) was on hand and will run a piece on the event, with the Executive Director of the organization gushing about how wonderful it is for school age children to have college age role models. Since photos are worth a thousand words, for those of you not yet following the Torch members on Facebook, here’s a link to the photos we posted to our page last night: https://www.facebook.com/TorchSociety.