The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

April 1, 2014

NEO schedules annual community service day

MIAMI, Okla. — Miami residents looking to get a jump on spring cleaning or preparing a garden for the summer will have the opportunity this month to receive a helping hand from students at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College.

Campus officials will be the hosts for the fifth annual Big Event on Tuesday, April 22, as part of a daylong community service project that the college says “is an occasion for the students of NEO to express their gratitude to the community for its support of the college.” Lisa Bell, campus coordinator of student activities, said the event is the biggest day of community outreach that the students hold each year.

“We usually have about 30 students sign up, and most of the time they bring additional friends to volunteer,” Bell said. “This year, we have the entire NEO football team stepping up to go out into the community to give help wherever they can. Just with their participation, and several other off-season sports and clubs joining in, we are easily doubling our student participation this year.”

Jobs for the Big Event are requested by area residents through an application form on the NEO website. Bell said she then organizes each job based on how many students it will take to complete the task. The jobs that residents have requested range from easily accomplished tasks such as yard cleanup and trim painting to bigger jobs such as replanting a garden or moving furniture inside a house.

“We rely on a lot of word of mouth to get the word out that there are students available to help on that day,” Bell said. “We have some people who have requested help each year, and they have been great about spreading the word out to other people in the community. We get calls asking about what they can request help with, and a lot of people are surprised about what we can do.”

Bell said residents requesting work have to live within a 20-minute travel radius of the campus, provide their own materials for work and refrain from letting students use potentially dangerous tools.

“Our students are transporting themselves, and we don’t want to put them at any risk,” Bell said. “The jobs that people request are usually easily accomplished. They just need a little bit of help to get going.”

The Big Event will kick off at 8 a.m. and will last until about 6 p.m., though Bell said every job that is assigned will be completed that day. She said the project represents the dedicated relationship between the community and the school.

“This project has grown every year, both with student participation and with the work requests from the community,” Bell said. “The college looks forward to getting into the community on that day to show our support and to help wherever we can.”

Job requests

JOB REQUEST FORMS may be obtained at the Student Center inside the NEO Student Union or online at www.neo.edu. The deadline for job requests is April 15.

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