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Calvin students get hands-on experience serving community in bike shop, youth club

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

A community/college partnership helps Calvin College students serve and learn through programs like the bike repair shop at Oakdale Neighbors.

Find Out More

Find out more about Oakdale Neighbors'Boston Square Community Bikes program on our website.

Learn about the Service Learning Center at Calvin College.

Calvin College students mentor neighborhood youth in Oakdale Neighbors' baking class.

Calvin College students mentor neighborhood youth in Oakdale Neighbors' baking class. /Becky Ajuonuma

Matt Schanck has been turning wrenches at Oakdale Neighbors’ Boston Square Community Bikes program for two years. He and other students from the NVW dormitory at Calvin College get real-world experience in the Oakdale neighborhood every week. This community/college partnership gives students the opportunity to serve and learn outside the classroom.

Matt is a sophomore at Calvin College, studying engineering. As the community partnership leader for the Noordeweir-VanderWerp (NVW) dorm, Matt volunteers and mobilizes other students to volunteer. He and fellow NVW students repair and refurbish bikes through Oakdale Neighbors’ bike program. Why does he keep coming back? “I love helping others,” Matt says, “and it’s a blast working with the people that volunteer at the shop.” This experience, he says, has “helped me learn how to fix bikes and has taught me that sometimes you can help people without ever seeing how it affects them.”

Matt also helps lead Oakdale NeighborsOn Our Block youth club, building relationships with neighborhood children. Matt and other Calvin College students serve as mentors, friends, and big brothers. With them neighborhood kids read, study, learn and grow. Although working with neighborhood children is “very time intensive,” Matt hopes that his dormitory is having an impact and leaving a legacy of learning in the neighborhood.

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