GCC club honored for being part of the solution

February 13, 2009

The purpose of the Human Service Club at Greenfield Community College is to find what is missing and get it, whether it is raising awareness about domestic violence, giving children toys, collecting donations for the region’s food pantry or hosting a fund drive to help people pay for heat. The impact is that people’s hardships are immeasurably softened.

For that, the region’s largest social service organization and the state House of Representatives and Senate honored the club earlier this month.

“The environment of a community college is so different from other institutions of higher education – there really is a sense of community,” said Abbie Jenks, professor of behavioral sciences who founded the Human Service Club 11 years ago for which she serves as an advisor to the student members.

The area anti-poverty agency, County Community Action! and leaders from the State House of Representatives and Senate each bestowed upon the club recognition for its donation of $375 to the fuel assistance program run by the social service organization.

GCC students staffed an information table on campus for two days to provide information about the program and solicit donations to support the cause.

The fund-drive was helpful in two significant ways, Jenks said.

“We raised money and gave students information on how they can access services,” she said. “The club is highly visible on campus and people are appreciative and pitch in.”

The club doesn’t limit its mission to people in the region. In Hurricane Katrina’s wake in 2005, the GCC club formed a partnership with Mississippi Gulf Community College to help a family recover by not just sending gift certificates for necessary items, but also toys for the 4-year-old in the family.

Every year, the events held by the Human Services Club to help alleviate suffering are rooted in Jenks’ commitment to social justice. Jenks founded GCC’s Peace and Social Justice Studies program, where students take courses on Psychology of Peace and Conflict Resolution and Mediation, among others.

For more information about the Human Service Club or the Peace and Social Justice program, call 413-775-1127.