Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” In honor of this sentiment, IFSA employees dedicated January 15, 2018, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, to service across the Indianapolis area.
The multi-location event was organized by IFSA employees Rachel Vaughn and Stephanie Gutzweiler. They recruited three additional IFSA employees from within the Indianapolis headquarters to coordinate and direct small teams at five organizations in need around the city.
Chris Kupianen, Director of IT, led a group assisting Second Helpings with food preparation, making sandwiches to be delivered to after school programs in need around the city. At the Indianapolis Humane Society, Program Advisor Kerry Uniyal coordinated two teams of IFSA employees. One group spent time with the cats and another with the dogs. Employees shared dog-walking responsibilities and everyone engaged with the animals, providing much-needed care and attention. Closer to downtown, a group of employees and their children cleaned and organized event chairs and other parts of the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, led by Margaret McCullers, Associate Director of Academic and Special Projects. Meanwhile, Rachel Vaughn led a group of volunteers working with Exodus Refugee, delivering donations and folding and sorting donated items. At the Ronald McDonald House in Riley Hospital, Stephanie Gutzweiler and a team of IFSA employees prepared and served breakfast and lunch to parents and family members of Riley patients.
In addition, IFSA employees had the option to volunteer on their own with an organization of their own choosing. A small group of employees dedicated time to local schools and area shelters. At the end of the day, IFSA gave nearly 220 hours of service to organizations in need.
Several days later, many of the employees gathered to reflect on the day, what they experienced and how it may influence future actions. Rachel Vaughn said, “I was surprised to find out that the two employees at Exodus Refugee came in on their day off. They have experienced funding cuts and a year of instability, but they still came in with smiles on to serve with us. It speaks volumes about their dedication to the mission.”
IFSA’s mission is to create global learning environments designed to foster the development of critical perspectives, knowledge and skills essential to thrive in the future. IFSA employees got to live out the mission this week by engaging with our own local community, learning more about the needs around us, and contributing to improving individual and organizational situations. Mary Samreta said, “It was great to know that a need was being filled. A little effort makes a big difference.”