Keystone College students gave the residents of Mathewson Park Apartments a holiday treat on Tuesday with a served lunch of hot dogs, sloppy joes, and salad.
Most of the students are members of Keystone Service Club, an organization dedicated to providing various services throughout the communities.
“We meet here once a month to provide lunches to the residents,” explained Maria Fanning, Coordinator for Civic Engagement and Service Learning. “The students also socialize with the residents. Funding comes from college’s Student Government to pay for the lunch.”
Fanning explained that the lunch is one of many community services performed by the organization.
“This is one of our favorites,” she said. “Many of the residents don’t see many young people, and they enjoy talking with them.”
Each month the lunch event at Mathewson Park Apartments features a different theme. This month it was Christmas, last month was Thanksgiving, and October highlighted Halloween.
The students provide a wide variety of services in various areas, Fanning explained. Some provide instruction to young children in such areas as music and art, dance, and theater.
Other events Keystone Service has attended include Feed a Friend, held before Thanksgiving at Triton Hose Company.
“The students filled 500 baskets of food for families in need,” she said. Some students teach photography, while others do ceramics, and other teach culinary skills.”
Fran Caplin, Senior Director of College Relations, explained that Keystone College encourages all of its students to be active in community services. Each year, he said, the college as a whole dedicates 26,000 hours to community service.
“We been on the President’s Honor Roll for community service for the past five years,” he explained. “We want our students to know that education is more than just academics and books, and careers. All those things are important, but we want them to know that serving the community is also an important part of their education.”
Fanning explained that not all participants at the lunch are Keystone Service members. Some come along to help out and see if they would like to join the organizations.
“Some of our students start out as volunteers, and they become hired at the agency where they started,” Fanning said.
Volunteering allows students to use the skills they are being taught in college, and see if they’re chosen career is a good fit, she explained.
“I really love to help out people,” explained Kelly Gordon of Hallstead.
Gordon is a senior majoring in communications.
“I like to do the little things. It’s really a great thing to do.”
Charles Schneider of Tunkhannock is in his fifth year at Keystone College, majoring in Criminal Justice. He graduated from Tunkhannock Area High School in 2011.
Although not a member of Keystone Service, Schneider explained that he wanted to perform some community service, and decided to help serve lunch at Fanning’s invitation.
“It was different,” he said of the experience. “I never did anything like this before. What I liked most about it was introducing myself to the older people.”
Also majoring in Criminal Justice at Keystone is Olivia McFarlane, of West Babylon, N.Y., who has been attending the college for the past two years.
“It’s nice that you get to do something nice,” McFarlane explained. “It gives you a different perspective, a look at a different way of life.”
Shirley Golembeski, a resident of Mathewson Park Apartments, said she thinks the students serving them lunch is a wonderful thing.
“It’s nice to meet young people. Because everyone here is old. Not me!” Golembeski said with a laugh. “It’s nice to have young people come and I tell them lies and they don’t know the difference.”