by Vanessa Small, 2011 IWU graduate
Nine employees of the admissions department at Indiana Wesleyan University’s Cleveland location recently stepped out of the office, donned painting clothes and spent some time volunteering at the Cleveland City Mission.
The City Mission, the second largest of its kind in the country, is a Christian organization located in downtown Cleveland. The mission seeks to meet the physical needs of men, women and children, as well as provide opportunities for spiritual growth and encouragement.
The IWU team visited the Crossroads Men’s Crisis Center, located on the mission’s main campus. This site serves the needs of men facing crisis, some of whom were homeless, suffering from addictions, or otherwise in need of assistance. The mission provides food, shelter and access to health care for these men and has programs in place to help them receive training, equipping them for the workplace. Daily chapel services and spiritual guidance are offered as well.
During their time at the City Mission, the IWU team had the opportunity to paint one of the apartments available to men at the center. While they were there, the workers also were able to tour the facility and hear the story of one man who has found help at the mission.
One of the most meaningful parts of their experience was “hearing his story of being given an opportunity to turn his life around and seeing that there are people out there that care,” said Bart Ciofani, corporate education liaison at IWU’s Cleveland campus. “If it wasn’t for the City Mission, this gentleman would not have a chance.”
The time spent serving at the mission was beneficial for all involved. The needs of residents were being met, as well as the needs of the City Mission, which relies on volunteers to carry out the work that is done. Volunteers complete a variety of tasks, including painting and other improvement projects, as well as sorting through the many donations of food and clothing the mission receives.
Participating in this community outreach project was also valuable for the IWU admissions staff, as they were able to grow closer as a team while getting a look at what goes on at the mission each day. The workers plan to return and help with other projects in the future.
Through their hard work and service, these nine admissions workers were able to bring the world-changing vision of Indiana Wesleyan University alive as they helped to fulfill the Cleveland City Mission’s goal of “Reaching Hearts and Changing Lives.”