Ivy Tech students collect warm weather gear for refugees

Ivy Tech students Jean Berber, Abigail Wittekind, and Courtney Rhoads purchasing items for the warm weather clothing drive for Afghan refugees at Camp Atterbury.

Ivy Tech Community College students raised more than $900 to purchase winter items for Afghan children housed at Camp Atterbury.

Students in the Student Leadership Academy (SLA), a leadership development program designed specifically for Ivy Tech students, collected donations during an eight-week campaign they called “Helping Camp Atterbury: A Winter Drive.” The money raised was used to purchase winter items for children, including socks, sweatshirts, gloves, and jackets.

Some fun items, such as stuffed animals and soccer balls, were also included. Donation boxes were set up at Ivy Tech campuses in Columbus, Franklin, and Shelbyville.

On Friday, after their graduation ceremony at the Hotel Indigo, the group delivered the items to Camp Atterbury and heard a short presentation by Team Rubicon’s Tyler Smith.

“We wanted to show some kindness from the community in their newfound home, to let them know they are welcomed and give them good memories of the first year they were in the United States,” said Ivy Tech student Kayla Dial, a member of the SLA class.

Through participation in SLA, students improve their leadership skills, enhance their professional development skills, and enjoy opportunities to network with alumni and community members.

Upon completion of SLA, students receive a specially designed medallion to wear during commencement and a scholarship for three credit hours.

“The heart of the SLA students really shines bright when they discussed and selected their annual service project; they knew that nearly half of the refugee population are children,” says Dr. Neil Bagadiong, SLA facilitator and director of student life. “This small but mighty group wanted to shower the kids with warmth this winter season, as they put it.”