Pierpont Community & Technical College held another Day of Service for the betterment of its community service region.
Pierpont employees, students, and area volunteers began the day’s projects in various locations throughout the community, including at the Union Rescue Mission, the Hospice Care Thrift Shop, the Disability Action Center, and the Harrison County Animal Shelter.
“Our role as this community’s college is to put the community at the heart of everything we do,” said Hayward. “Growing North Central West Virginia not only with education but also through acts of service will bring a brighter future to all.”
The Union Mission, located in downtown Fairmont, serves Marion County to reach the least, the last, and the lost through ministry, shelter, and meals.
Like the previous Day of Service in January, Pierpont staff and students spent the morning painting rooms to assist the Mission with its renovation project.
A few students who volunteered at the Mission explained why they donated their time to help and paint. The consensus was the importance of helping others.
“I figured I would help out the community of Fairmont, and it seemed to be what was available,” said Sara Sprouse, a second-year student in Pierpont’s cybersecurity program.
“I always like helping people whenever I can,” echoed Mathew Duff, a first-year student in Pierpont’s cybersecurity program. “I don’t usually worry about who’s involved as long as it’s helping someone.”
The Mission felt Pierpont’s efforts, and Jacci Maier, development director at the Union Mission hopes it will encourage others to do the same.
“With Pierpont’s volunteerism, it’s important because many people think we just want donations. No, we want volunteers,” said Maier during Pierpont’s January Day of Service. “It’s about a community effort, and by Pierpont stepping up and volunteering their time, they’re setting a precedent for other schools, other organizations, and churches to do more of the same.”
Harrison Animal Shelter
The Harrison County Humane Society, a no-kill animal shelter, takes in strays, cares for, and rehabilitates them with veterinary services, including vaccinations, to prepare them for public adoption.
Pierpont gave back to the organization by cleaning and caring for the animals awaiting adoption. Some of the tasks included cleaning crates, mopping floors, and, of course, giving lots of cuddles.
“As a little girl, I visited the animal shelter a lot,” said Amanda Hawkinberry, executive assistant to the president. “It was a big part of our family growing up, so we wanted to give back.”
Hawkinberry and her team were happy to be giving back and think it is what being a community college is all about.
“I am happy we are getting back to our roots and giving back to the community,” said Hawkinberry. “Community is in our name, and it’s good to be out in the community and helping out.”
Disability Action Center
Pierpont faculty and staff also volunteered at the Disability Action Center (DAC) in downtown Fairmont. The DAC, which currently serves over 450 children and adults with disabilities and their families in North Central WV, has a mission of providing comprehensive education, training, and enrichment.
The DAC was excited to have Pierpont join them in a Day of Service and recognizes the importance of having additional volunteers to bring the community together.
“It just goes to show that there is help needed everywhere,” said CD Collins, enrichment coordinator at the DAC. “If we can freely give it out, then everybody rises up. If we all join together and lift each other up, we all rise.”
Pierpont gave back by clearing out a storage room that will become a sensory-friendly room for those needing a break from overstimulation.
“[This room will be] somewhere that people can go and get respite from over-stimulation and have a reset,” said Collins. “I think everybody needs that, not just people on the [Autism] spectrum.”
One Pierpont volunteer, Skye Feather, wanted to give back because the DAC is a community staple.
“It’s important to bring attention to places like this that serve communities and typically go under the radar,” said Feather. “Pierpont is a community college, first and foremost, and our goal is to be in the community and serving its people regardless of their ability, so we thought it was important that the DAC knows they have our support and that we are a resource to them as much as we are to anyone else.”
Hospice Care Thrift Shop
Downtown Fairmont is home to the Hospice Care Thrift Shop. Here, people donate clothing items and home goods sold at discounted rates to those in need, with proceeds benefiting individuals in Hospice Care.
Pierpont gave back by unpacking and sorting clothing items for the annual “Cinderella Project,” which provides affordable, gently used dresses for proms and formal events.
“I wanted to volunteer at the thrift store because I love thrift stores,” said Debra Lupica-Scott, assistant professor at Pierpont. “People today are having a hard time making ends meet and do not have much to spend on clothing, especially for special occasion clothes.”
“This was an opportunity to serve the community and, in particular, an age group in our community that we might not otherwise have an opportunity to reach,” added Joni Gray, director of the Pierpont College Academy and transitional education. “I have twin daughters who are 16, and I know the struggles of preparing for these events in their lives, so to be able to support the community and these high school students means a lot.”
Pierpont takes great pride in its community and will continue providing both educational and support services to North Central West Virginia. This Day of Service is one of many projects scheduled in 2024 as the Pierpont Serves initiative grows. To learn more about Pierpont Serves and find opportunities to volunteer, visit pierpont.edu/day-of-service.
Pierpont hopes that this Day of Service reminds everyone to give back to their community. CD Collins said it best:
“If we all work together and join hands, then everybody moves up together and things are better.”