YouthBuild and L&C Cares: The perfect match

Hello all!  Welcome to another riveting Building Futures YouthBuild blog post!

Lewis and Clark Community College has continued its volunteering efforts with “Lewis and Clark Cares,” a week-long initiative that was designed for L&C students to connect with community organizations and provide much needed volunteer man power.

This is the third year of the project, which coincides with National Volunteer Week, April 11 -15. The first year we had 70 students and last year we had 87 students who took the time from their busy schedules to make a difference in the community.


A group of student volunteers from Student Government Association, Student Activities and Youthbuild pose on the student-built sculpture outside of Reid Hall for National Volunteer Week.

Lewis and Clark Community College is the sponsoring organization for the Building Futures YouthBuild Program.  Whenever it is feasible Building Futures attempts to involve our students in as many Lewis and Clark Community College activities as possible. “Lewis and Clark Cares” directly aligns with the Building Futures YouthBuild AmeriCorps philosophy of community service and the YouthBuild Pledge which states:


We, the members of Building Futures YouthBuild, pledge that we are working together to improve and rebuild our community, as a sustainable entity, implementing green strategies, methods, and materials; to relate to each other in cooperative ways; to develop our potential as leaders; to discover meaningful career pathways; to educate and improve ourselves and help others along the way; to respect our peers, neighbors, and all life; to be part of a great movement for justice, equality, and peace. All this we will do with compassion and dignity.

This is the second year that Building Futures has had the fortune to participate in “L&C Cares.”  Last year Building Futures participated by volunteering at several different locations but only on the last day of the week. This year Building Futures has taken a more aggressive approach in our students’ volunteering efforts by volunteering at three different sites over the span of three different days. This year the sites that Building Futures conducted its volunteer activities were as follows:

  • YWCA of Alton: Expunged the attic
  • Jacoby Art Center: Painted wall, cut in stairwell, sanded and prepped twp bathrooms
  • Rock Springs: Worked at four different site areas, helped the middle school students planting, cleaning debris, mulching, and evasive plant removals

Jared Hennings, coordinator of “L&C Cares” and L&C’s Student Engagement department, receives his 20 Year Service Award from Dr. Dale Chapman.

Jared Hennings, coordinator of Student Activities, Advisor of Black Student Association and Co-Advisor of Student Government Association at L&C, is the architect behind “L&C Cares.” Jared also hosts the annual “Underground Railroad” tour which highlights historical abolitionists and homes in the area that were along the route of the Underground Railroad for escaped slaves on their way to the north.


Tour guide and L&C instructor J. E. Robinson, left, discusses local history with Gwen Price and Jared Hennings, Black Student Association advisor, in the basement of the Enos Apartment Building in Alton, Feb. 28 2014, during an Underground Railroad Tour offered by Lewis and Clark Community College in honor of Black History Month.

In taking the time to interview, question and understand why Jared Hennings felt the need to begin “L&C Cares” my eyes were opened to a man of great depth and caring for individuals within the Alton community regardless of race, creed or socioeconomic status. The following is a depiction of the interview I had the pleasure of conducting with Jared.

What inspired you to begin the “Lewis and Clark Cares” event?

I’ve volunteered for many years in our community and I place a lot of value in the importance of volunteering. I thought it would be fantastic for the college to commit to a week of giving back to our community and make our contribution impactful.

What is the goal of “Lewis and Clark Cares?”

The Goal of “Lewis and Clark Cares” is to have a unified effort and have students represent the college in this endeavor. Maybe from volunteering, students will realize how important volunteering is and they could be inspired to make volunteering a part of their life.

What benefits does “Lewis and Clark Cares” bring to the Alton community?

“Lewis and Clark Cares” brings a personal connection with the Alton community in realizing that the college and students are behind helping out wherever there is a need.

How has Youthbuild’s efforts contributed to “Lewis & Clark Cares?”

Youthbuild’s participation is unmatched. They already understand the value of community service before I started this effort. The students are reliable which the biggest concern to any volunteering effort. YouthBuild has strength in numbers and also construction skills to attack some of the more skilled orientated projects.

Until the next time signing off!

Pat Mays
YouthBuild Coordinator

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King


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