It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Maryville Reaches Out, MRO, that is. With undergraduate classes cancelled on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016 in honor of MRO, the entire day was devoted to Maryville students volunteering throughout St. Louis. What a sight it is to see 1,300 students sitting in the gym ready to serve the community. “This was a record breaking year for MRO and I couldn’t be more thankful to everyone that came out to volunteer,” Aaron Buettner, MRO student coordinator, said. “I’ve been working on this since the middle of May, so it was really overwhelming to see over 1,000 people register to volunteer on just the first day.” According to Buettner, only 500 people registered on the first day last year.
Each year, Maryville Reaches Out teaches students something just as important as classroom material: giving back. As one of Maryville University’s core values, civic engagement, the cultivation of well-rounded students is evident. This is not your average university in the fact that Maryville goes as far as cancelling classes to grant students the opportunity to help others and build relationships.
“We talk about our mission, but Tuesday morning we didn’t have to talk at all. It just spoke for itself, and it speaks volumes about the students, faculty and staff that we have here. There are many days, but this is one of the days in particular, when I’m really proud to say that I am happy to be a saint,” Kathy Quinn, dean of students, said.
Quinn has been around since MRO started nine years ago with 870 volunteers, and she has seen it grow substantially over the years. According to Quinn, her favorite part of the event is during the morning of.
“Feeling the energy in the room, it’s exciting to see how everybody else is excited about participating and giving back,” Quinn said.
Taylor Wucher, freshman
Project: Lutheran Senior Center
What did you do while you were there? “I really enjoyed my day. We go to chat with the senior [citizens], play bingo with them and I even painted some ladies’ nails.”
Why did you pick your project? “I have a passion for helping [elders], and I want to eventually work in geriatrics physical therapy.”
Who would you recommend this project to? “I would recommend this project to someone that is comfortable with senior [citizens] and casual conversation.”
Taylor Hellmann, sophomore
Project: Family Resource Center
What is the Family Resource Center? “It is a place where children, primarily preschool age, who have been victims of abuse, violence or neglect can go after being removed from other preschools.”
What did you do there? “We didn’t get to interact with the kids there, but we cleaned out trash outside and cleaned all the toys inside.”
Why did you decided to do MRO for another year? “I think MRO is a wonderful thing. Doing all of these projects on the same day really makes a huge impact in our community.”
Thank you to all the volunteers that helped make this a record breaking year. Did you have a terrific MRO experience? Share yours in the comments below!