In From the Cold
- Categorized in: Currents – Past Issues
A year ago, Amy Moore was a second-year nursing student at Carroll Community College. As a single parent, she was struggling to get herself through school and take care of her three children. Completing her community service project was just another requirement to check off her list and bring her one step closer to graduation.
Moore had no way of knowing that checking off a community service requirement would have a lasting effect on her and for many of the homeless in Carroll County.
With four other nursing students, Moore spent several weeks collecting donations for the Cold Weather Shelter in Westminster. The students also provided two evening meals, volunteered as evening staff, and packed bags with breakfasts for the clients to take in the morning. In addition, they spent hours reorganizing a storage space at the shelter.
“These students had a full load of classes at school,” said Jennifer Grodzicki, the volunteer and special projects coordinator for the Human Services Programs of Carroll County. “Instead of just providing dinner, they wanted to go above and beyond, way beyond. They looked at our needs and provided so much.”
The Cold Weather Shelter, run by the Human Services Programs of Carroll County, operates from the middle of November until the end of March and offers the homeless protection from freezing weather.
The shelter has a limited budget and relies heavily on volunteers to provide a meal and staff the shelter every evening. It opens at 7 p.m. and clients must be out the door again by 7 a.m. The shelter almost always operates at its capacity of 35-40 adult clients.
“The people at the shelter were just normal people,” said Moore. “They were clean; they had cell phones; some were college educated; they were just down on their luck. It taught me not to be judgmental and always take time to listen to people.”
Moore and her team’s efforts represent exactly what the community college hopes students glean from their service work.
“We want students to learn that there is a health piece in everything we do,” explained Chris Henyon, Assistant Professor in Nursing at Carroll Community College and Service Learning Coordinator. “Nursing is not so much sticking a stethoscope on someone’s chest, but dealing with all aspects of health and well being.”
Initially, Moore’s group planned just to do their required volunteer hours at the shelter. All of that changed when they met with Grodzicki.
Grodzicki gave the students a tour of the shelter and explained the daily operations, the limited budget and the reliance on volunteers.
“Other than volunteering at my son’s school, I had never really volunteered before,” said Moore. “I didn’t have much experience with people living on the streets, but we saw a great need at the Cold Weather Shelter. All of us really wanted to go above and beyond for them.
“I will always be thankful that I did that project,” said Moore. “As a volunteer you get to help so many people.”
Amy Moore now works as a registered nurse in Baltimore. She is dedicated to volunteering and is using her nursing education to continue her volunteer work with at-risk populations in Carroll County. Other participants in the project were Laura Heath, Cynthia Kmiecik, Cathy Warfield, and Mollie Weyland.
To volunteer or make a donation to The Cold Weather Shelter, contact Jennifer Grodzicki, Volunteer and Special Projects Coordinator for Human Services of Carroll County. (410) 857-2999 Ext. 3060 E-mail: email@example.com.