This fall, HCC students are helping those in need thanks to the encouragement of two Hagerstown Community College instructors, Sociology Instructor Daniel Madron and Paralegal Studies Professor Loretta Thornhill.
“In economic times like these, I think it is very important to remember how lucky we are and to help those who are not so fortunate,” says Thornhill. “Even if you do a small thing, it can make a huge difference in someone’s life.”
Thornhill, who has taught at HCC since 1997, incorporates service learning into her Legal Environment of Business classes and also serves as the advisor to the HCC Service Club. Through both venues, Thornhill encourages students to work with other organizations in the community. This year, Thornhill’s students have sponsored a variety of community events including: a canned food drive for the Salvation Army; a clothing drive for Goodwill; a raffle for Star Equestrian Center; and a raffle to support a young girl with multiple illnesses. In addition, her students also participated in the Cumberland Valley’s annual Step N Stride to raise money for breast cancer awareness; collected supplies to send to U.S. troops overseas; collected quilts for the pediatric ward at Washington County Hospital; held a series of car washes for CASA; and collected money for the Humane Society. The Service Club, which consists solely of HCC students, has raised more than $300 for the Cumberland Valley Step N Stride; collected cards to send to U.S. troops overseas; raised money for the Humane Society; and held a Toys for Tots drive.
Madron, who is a new instructor at the college and began teaching there in 2010, believes that one of the greatest underserved populations in the United States is the homeless and has been working to help those in need since his days as an undergraduate at Eastern University in Philadelphia, Pa. As a teacher, Madron says that he wants his students to experience sociology firsthand and encourages them to do so by raising money, seeking food donations, and helping serve those in need.
“After moving to Hagerstown, I wondered what we as a community could do to help those who are less fortunate and make their lives a little better. I immediately thought of the holidays—a time when many us stuff our faces with amazing food, spend time with friends, and family, and are warm and feel loved. I wanted to spread that feeling to others.”
Through his efforts, Madron and his 130 students cooked and served an entire Thanksgiving dinner to 250 people at the Salvation Army, provided food and monetary donations to The Hagerstown Rescue Mission, which served approximately 300 people on Thanksgiving day, and provided dinners to multiple families and senior citizens through the Community Action Council (CAC) and the Hagerstown Rescue Mission.
“Almost every one of my students participated in some way,” says Madron. “It was actually quite incredible to see how involved some of the students became. I had one student who visited over 100 houses and raised more than $100. That is awesome.”