By Humaira Taz
The Lane Center, located in Jones Hall, is the source of almost all the community service projects that are undertaken by Wesleyan students. In a nutshell, its goals are to promote and manage specific community service events; to incorporate the spirit of service and engagement into the pedagogical process; and to teach and model civic leadership and personal responsibility through workshops, conferences and conversations. Although the Lane Center has been accomplishing some excellent projects, I was surprised to find out that, unfortunately, many students on campus are not very well informed about its activities. Below, are the details about the Lane Center’s activities, its accomplishments, its future plans and of course, the brilliant leaders behind the initiatives.
Activities and Accomplishments Through the following projects, the Lane Centre tries to educate, elevate, and eliminate negative perceptions about people living in poverty:
1. Lane Center’s Servant Leaders: There are five students who are currently serving in this position. They facilitate and oversee the different projects, activities, and the front office of the Lane Center.
2. Aunt Maggie’s Kitchen Table Outreach Center: Don’t be misguided by the name: this is not just about providing food for the underprivileged. About 25 to 30 students are working as mentors and tutors to the 85 children actively involved in the program. Along with basic classes like Math and English, it also provides dance, drawing, and computing classes. At present, there are only two computers, which means each child has access to a computer for only about ten to fifteen minutes. Therefore, if you have any computers that are in quite good shape but you are planning to replace it with an upgraded one, consider donating the old one to Aunt Maggie’s Kitchen Table.
3. Servers of Lunches for the Homeless: Each week, students and staff shop for and prepare lunch bags for the homeless or hungry clients; and four students go to Loaves and Fishes each week to serve the lunches. Currently, eight students and two staff members are devoting their time in this activity.
4. Lane Center Tutors: Five Wesleyannes are presently working as math and grammar tutors for six students from Bibb County School System who are struggling in these fields. So if you feel that you have some time and are interested in giving back to the community, you might as well become a Lane Center tutor.
5. Leadership Development Team: This is a very interesting project indeed. Five students and two staff members go to Morgan School twice a month to mentor and teach leadership skills to twelve “at risk” fourth and fifth grade girls. What is meant by “at risk” is that these girls act as bullies in their schools. Hence, the goal is to help these girls use their authoritative personalities in a positive way, for instance in leadership, rather than in scaring other girls.
6. WOW! A Day for Macon: This year’s WOW a day was a big success with a total of 134 participants. The enthusiasm was further increased by the prospect of a service trophy for the class with the highest number of participants. This year’s trophy was won by the Pirate class. In addition, 175 personal hygiene bags were created and donated on WOW a day. These bags included basic articles like toothpaste, toothbrush, and soap. These bags were substitutes for cash.
7. Upcoming events: Since Christmas season is approaching fast, the Lane center is considering collecting spare or no-longer-used gaming systems to give as presents to the children who come to Aunt Maggie’s Kitchen Table. There is also the plan for the Lane Center Tutors going to the Methodist Church for helping out young children with math and grammar. In addition, a website and a facebook page for the Lane Centre are also being planned for more coverage and advertisement for fundraising. Another important project that is being thought about is to interview the students who had been helped by the Lane Center in 2002 or 2003 to survey how they have been benefited by the Lane Center.
The Brilliant Brains Rhonda Green-Barnes, the Director of the Lane Center has been working devotedly to make the Lane Centre better and more popular. Pamela Richardson is the Advisory Team Chairperson, and Dr. Matt Martin has been working on the Service Learning Implementation since Lane Centre started. However, they are not the only ones: Lauren Hamlin works persistently to collect funds, while many other staff and students are serving selflessly to materialize the projects.
Therefore, the Lane Center is a great way for the Wesleyannes to reach out into the community and bring about a change. Just know that every dollar you donate to the Lane Center drive is either feeding some homeless or hungry person, or helping the underprivileged children to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.