WOLFVILLE, NS – Kinesiology students at Acadia have given back to the town of Wolfville, raising nearly $6,300 for various community initiatives in just two months.
Students in the senior seminar class in Kinesiology at Acadia were the ones heading the efforts, as part of the class’ requirements.
The projects may start as classwork, but they often grow beyond that, according to student Joy Chiekwe, who was involved with the Shoot, Score, SMILE hockey game that raised $3,124 on its own.
“Once you find something you love, it doesn’t seem like work. You’re doing something to better the community and better lives, in any way you can,” she said.
Making giving back a program priority
Kinesiology professor Ann Dodge runs the seminar and added the community initiative projects to emphasize the importance of giving back.
The projects students get involved in are always their own idea and depend on their respective schedules.
Dodge says seeing each student learn and grow from these experiences shows her it’s an emphasis she was right to make.
“It’s a lot of work. They learn a lot about helping people, but also about themselves, group work, how much they can do, and why it matters,” she said.
From Sep. 30 to Nov. 21, the students participated in 16 separate events, doing things from raising awareness for breast cancer, holding events at nursing homes and ending stigma surrounding mental health.
Perhaps best known are the Sensory Motor Instructional Leadership Experience, or SMILE, and the Acadia Active Aging, or AAA, programs.
Looking at the funds raised and impact made by her students, Dodge feels pleased.
“I’m so proud of the time, effort and consciousness this has raised for my students. These initiatives do matter to them, and go way beyond just caring about grades,” she said.
‘Not ready to give it up yet’
Chiekwe was one of several class members who gathered for the last time Dec. 6 to celebrate everything they accomplished during the seminar.
She volunteered with the Shoot, Score, SMILE Nov. 3, and with the AAA program, among smaller initiatives.
After the game’s massive success and seeing the money go directly to SMILE, Chiekwe felt proud of her work.
“It was a good thing we did. We spent a month planning for it and raising money for the event, and to have it do that well was amazing,” she said.
Chiekwe has volunteered extensively as part of her seminar, but also with other projects like Acadia’s cardiac rehab classes.
She will be returning next year for a few classes, and said her decision was made mostly because she’s “not ready to give up volunteering quite yet.”
“Wolfville is a great community that’s supported us over our years here, so we wanted to support them,” she said.
“Everything outside of classes is where you get your memories. It’s something I really enjoy doing, and I’ll be sad when I leave.”