December 12, 2016
A simple suggestion by Financial Aid Assistant Rebecca Reyes garnered more attention than she ever expected.
Designed to be an effort through Blinn’s FutureWorks Academy, a faculty and staff leadership development program, Reyes’ suggestion of a food drive soon grew into a district-wide effort involving various departments. In just a few weeks, FutureWorks Academy collected 260 pounds of nonperishable food items to donate to the Brazos Valley Food Bank in Bryan.
“What was intended to be an internal effort by participants within the FutureWorks Academy really grew in a short amount of time,” Reyes said. “I was definitely caught off-guard with how much enthusiasm there was.”
FutureWorks Academy was formed last year to develop leadership skills district-wide. Through a competitive selection process, 16 individuals from across the College were chosen to participate in FutureWorks Academy’s second class, which launched in September with a day-long retreat at Camp Allen in Navasota.
“FutureWorks is a leadership development academy,” said Joyce Langenegger, program facilitator. “We are training participants to be leaders no matter what position they hold within the organization. Our underlying philosophy is ‘You can lead from any chair in the room.’”
Class II members include: Chelsey Dankenbring, Cheri Hobbs, Cynthie Thomas, Dana Wood, Erin May, Jay Pedregosa, Karen Killion, Lindsay Jones, Michelle Shoemaker, Myron Dippel, Pat Westergaard, Rachel Landolt, Rebecca Reyes, Roxanne Brown, Brandon Franke, and Shonda Whetstone.
Reyes’ suggestion to her colleague to collect food items quickly spread across the College thanks to the group’s willingness to make a difference, she said. Fellow FutureWorks classmate and Accounting Clerk Cynthie Thomas assisted Reyes in creating fliers to further spread the word.
“When you get a room full of Blinn leaders together, everyone just took the initiative to make their respective departments aware of what we were doing,” she said. “It couldn’t have happened without the help of so many generous go-getters in the FutureWorks Academy.”
Blinn’s commitment to serving the community has earned the College a spot on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest accolade an educational institution can receive from the federal government for its commitment to community, service learning and civic engagement, for the sixth time. In 2015, Blinn was recertified with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s Carnegie Classification, which places Blinn among the nation’s top 5 percent of colleges and universities in terms of documented public service.
Blinn’s Service Learning Program, which combines community service with classroom instruction and student club activities, focuses on critical, reflective thinking, and civic responsibility to engage students. Blinn’s Service Learning activities include the Dental Hygiene Program’s annual Give Kids a Smile event in Bryan, which provides exams, X-rays, cleanings, sealants and oral health education to local children without access to regular dental care; EMS, vocational nursing and associate degree nursing students volunteering at local clinics and hospitals; natural science students volunteering at local animal shelters; agricultural students working with Texas Parks and Wildlife and 4-H organizations; and social sciences students volunteering at local Democratic and Republican headquarters.
For more information about Blinn’s commitment to community service and its Service Learning Program, visit www.blinn.edu/servicelearning.