Maryville Reaches Out (MRO) is an annual event where students and faculty volunteer in a variety of services throughout the St. Louis area. This is the eleventh year of the program running. Since then, it has grown exponentially. With a large variety of services, students are surely to find an organization they have connection to.
Kaitlin Evans, a fourth-year Music Therapy major, sang at Bethesda Meadow Senior Skilled Nursing Care Facility, along with seven other group members.
“We arrived at Bethesda Meadow at 10:30 a.m. and ran through songs together that would be enjoyed by the residents. Then, we went to different floors and sang with the residents. We sang songs like ‘Hit the Road Jack,’ ‘All Shook Up’ and ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’ accompanied by guitars, shakers and maracas. Then, we all met up to sing with residents during lunch and said our goodbyes. It wasn’t very long, however it was a great experience, especially seeing the residents smile and laugh,” Evans said.
Evans said getting the chance to volunteer at the facility was beneficial to her and others, “A lot of the volunteers for this MRO were Music Therapy majors, so it gave everyone, including me, a chance to get some experience in the way a nursing home is set up. It also allowed us to get up in front of people and sing and play instruments, which is always helpful,” Evans said.
As a leader of MRO, Evans had to step out of her comfort zone and expand her horizons, “I had to set an example of what was to be expected of the other volunteers. I had to step out of my comfort zone to show the other volunteers that it is more than okay to step out of theirs,” Evans said. “It might have been difficult to make sure everyone does their part, but in the end, it is making sure that we truly gave the service that we committed to. No matter what was unprepared or what was unexpected,” Evans said.
As her last Maryville Reaches Out as a student, Evans hopes other Music Therapy majors continue to bring joy to those at Bethesda Meadow, “MRO is a wonderful experience and I especially hope, as a senior, that someone else will carry on the MRO to Bethesda Meadow, as it deserves to be carried on, especially by people who really care,” Evans said.
MRO has many services to choose from, but some seem to be a more popular choice than others. Sophomore Madison Rice knew the animal shelter would be a first choice to many and she was prepared to get a spot. Due to technical difficulties she had to come up with backup plan, “I originally wanted to go to an animal shelter, I had it all prepared, I was ready to click submit when registration opened at 8 a.m. But then, I clicked the submit button and did not realize I was on the slower wifi. By the time I switched to a faster wifi all the spots were taken,” Rice said.
After realizing all the spots for the animal shelter were taken, Rice began looking through the rest of the options and came across Girls Inc. “I had never heard of or seen Girls Inc but I saw that Jennifer McCluskey was leading it, and I think she’s awesome. This would be a new experience for me so I thought I would give it a try,” Rice Said.
Rice and the seven other group members that went to Girls Inc. helped clean the garden by pulling weeds, pulling vines off the gates and working hard outside in the heat, “Looking back on everything I did for Girls Inc. I really felt like my dad, he is always in our yard making sure everything looks perfect. As I was at Girls Inc. I made sure everything I did was perfect, and that part of my dad wore off on me, and I felt like he would have been really proud of me,” Rice said.
Giving back to the community is something Maryville students and staff are very passionate about. For more information on Maryville reaches out visit here.
To learn more about Girls Inc. of St. Louis visit here.