Helping Hands of Hope: Heartspring’s Competitive Integrated Employment Program
Like ripples on a pond from a single pebble, small acts of solidarity hold an immense power to do good.
Heartspring residential student Caleb embodies this. Since joining the Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE) program, Caleb has created a net of kindness, service, and altruism using one simple thing: pop can tabs.
The Ronald McDonald House Charities’ Pop Tab Pandemonium is Caleb’s passion project, and since he began collecting and delivering the tabs as part of his vocational training, he has received an overwhelming wave of support from community members who have since donated more than 71 lbs. of tabs.
Like Caleb, many CIE students are enthused to give back to the community.
The in-house CIE recycling service, for example, expanded thanks to a students’ heartful desire.
“Jaraya, I want to recycle with you!” states David, another residential student, as he looks at CIE paraeducator Jaraya Owens with excitement.
“Let’s do it, David!” exclaims Jaraya.
Now, every week, David and Jaraya go around Heartspring campus to collect paper scraps, cans, bottles, and other materials to take to the recycle center each Thursday.
“Not only are students helping the environment by recycling and donating the pop tabs to help families at the Ronald McDonald House, but we are also able to exchange recycled cans for some money that we can use to buy more recycle bins for our school,” states Employment Training Coordinator Jeffrey Jones.
The CIE program continues to expand the collective spirit of service while growing business partnerships in the community.
Besides recycling, students are also volunteering through housewarming duties at Ronald McDonald House Charities and by helping sort foods at a local food pantry, delivering local newspaper to businesses in the Wichita area, cleaning and disinfecting rooms at a local hotel, and helping file paperwork at a doctor’s office.
By helping others, students are helping themselves grow.
“It’s amazing to see students gain social, communication, and job skills while fostering a desire to help others,” says Curriculum Training Coordinator June Henkelman. “With these meaningful work experiences, they can discover their purpose and grow to become contributing members of the community.”
By encouraging students to find their passions in human values like in kindness, compassion, and service, Heartspring’s CIE program helps students look beyond independence and discover their purpose as ambassadors of hope – hope for a better, more inclusive tomorrow.
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“I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being,
let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.” ~William Penn