Last Saturday, eight students from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) sacrificed part of their first weekend of the school year to volunteer at Bonaventure House. As a part of IIT’s all-school Day of Service, students were encouraged to pick one of several volunteer sites all across Chicago. The group that came to Bonavenure House made one of the longest treks from IIT’s Bronzeville campus. All of the students were first-time volunteers with Alexian Brothers AIDS Ministry, and many of them introduced themselves as Engineering majors or Master’s students.
Not surprisingly, they were way overqualified for the tasks we had prepared for them, but they seemed more than willing to pick up some tools and get their hands dirty. One group headed outside, Windex-in-hand, to clean first floor windows. Another was handed a hefty weeding project out front, and a third came down to the basement Workout Room to scrape some chipping paint. Over the course of the day, they also managed to scrub down the wallpaper in two hallways and do a deep clean of the kitchen floor. These were all tasks that had not been done in quite a long time.
Though perhaps not the most fun jobs, I hope I can speak for the IIT students in saying that they were rewarding projects. Our weeded front garden looks clean and well-tended, our windows and walls are shiny and smudge-free, our kitchen floor is good as new, and our basement is on its way to being painted and refurbished. The more we can do to improve the facilities and environment of Bonaventure House, the more we honor the dignity of those who reside here. Thanks again to the IIT students for their hard work, and we hope to see many more students offer their time and talents to help those in need, even if it means scraping paint and pulling weeds!
Devon Parish is the Outreach Coordinator at Alexian Brothers AIDS Ministry. Her job is to bring folks into partnership with the organization through things like education, special events, and…blogging! She also loves music, dance, hot beverages and hikes of all varieties.