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December 3, 2012

ULM freshmen help local seniors

The University of Louisiana at Monroe’s First Year Experience fall community service project partnered freshmen enrolled in ULM's University Seminar with the Ouachita Council on Aging.

The multi-faceted project served a total of 70 homebound senior citizens.

ULM’s First Year Experience is designed to increase first-year student retention and success.

University Seminar, a required class for all incoming freshmen and part of First Year Experience, is designed to integrate academics and fun through the use of interactive learning and community service.

Students focused on a variety of areas to make the greatest impact with the senior citizens, including writing letters to those who were homebound and enrolled in the meals on wheels program.

In addition, each class served two seniors by creating care packages that included necessities that are often difficult for the senior population to obtain.

The ULM men's basketball team helped with the deliveries.

“The intent was to encourage these seniors and let them know someone was thinking about them,” said Julie Emory, project coordinator and academic advisor in ULM's Clarke M. Williams Student Success Center.

Each freshman also provided the OCA with canned goods.

“With more than 1,000 freshmen bringing in canned goods and many other goodies, they were able to make an incredible impact on so many families that struggle during this season,” continued Emory.

FYE students also helped the OCA sell tickets and raise funds through their quilt raffle.

“Through the hard work and commitment of each student, we were able to raise over $900 for OCA funding,” Emory said.

“Overall, the uniqueness of this community service project allowed freshmen to connect to others who have traveled before them, and touch lives in multiple ways.  We are always excited each fall to see the power of individual students joining together as a group to reach the community.”

Regan Orman, an FYE student participant and speech-language pathology major from Pineville, reflected on the importance of giving back to the local senior population.

“The opportunity we had as freshmen to impact the lives of the members of the Ouachita Council on Aging was a true blessing,” she said.

“They have already given so much to this community in the past, and they should not have to worry about their needs being met in the future. I do not think we could have given to a more deserving cause or a more appreciative group of people!”

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