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UC’s Mountain Outreach lends a helping hand with help from UC students


Incoming UC freshmen volunteered with Mountain Outreach on Tuesday, August 21. The group of student volunteers built a back porch on the home of a community member.

Williamsburg, Ky.— Warm weather couldn’t keep University of the Cumberlands’ (UC) students from showing the love of Christ while doing work in the Williamsburg community one hot week in August. The students were part of Dr. Chris Leskiw’s INSIGHTS class—a program designed to help students adjust from high school seniors to freshman students—UC’s archery team and Mountain Outreach (MO) workers. Students spent Tuesday, August 21 building a back porch for a local woman’s house, and the following Saturday replacing the underpinning of the home, coating the roof with sealant and building a wheelchair ramp on the front porch.

The woman originally contacted MO for assistance with the underpinning on her mobile home, which was falling in places and needed replaced. Upon reviewing her home and needs—she is legally blind and had recently fallen down her front porch steps and broken her arm—MO workers decided there was more work to be done, and made the home their first project of the 2012-2013 season.


Students on UC’s Archery team—Cumberlands’ newest sport--volunteered with Mountain Outreach on Saturday, August 25 to make much-needed repairs to a community member’s home.

The first of the semester sees athletic teams conducting team-building activities, and incoming freshmen taking INSIGHTS courses to become familiar with the workings of UC. The MO project was the perfect setting for both of these important activities, offering a chance to interact, get to know the community and a little more about UC. For many of the students in both of these groups, this was a first-time experience, and for some, life-changing.

“I absolutely love doing things like this to help others out, and I plan to be heavily involved in things like what MO is doing for the rest of my life,” said Rebekah Henderson, an incoming freshman from Nicholasville, Ky. “I want to do something that will really help people, like working with my hands, which I love to do.”

Rebekah’s story isn’t so different from one of MO’s veteran students, Williamsburg native Jonathan Bowman. Jonathan was an incoming freshman in Dr. Leskiw’s class five years ago, where he was taken to work on an MO project much like this one. Jonathan has been an MO volunteer ever since and today is the Student Coordinator. An unassuming young man who works hard and speaks little, Jonathan is clear on why he does what he does.

“It’s a calling,” says Jonathan.

The UC students in Dr. Leskiw’s current INSIGHTS class and the archery students—most freshmen as well—got a good look at Jonathan’s calling on Tuesday and Saturday. The INSIGHTS class worked from 7:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Tuesday, tearing down the old back porch and building a brand-new one. Dylan Arias, freshman member of the UC Mens’ Wrestling team from Boca Raton, Fla., was enthusiastic about the experience.

“I loved every moment of it,” said Dylan. “It was a great experience and I never took a break. I feel like I was cut out to do this.” Dylan made plans to volunteer with MO in the future, and even came back to the home on Saturday to assist the archery team.

The archery team also worked long hours on Saturday as they made repairs and restorations to the home. Coach Kris Strebeck shared that the MO experience was a great bonding experience for the team, seeing that they were new to the list of sports for UC, and mostly freshmen. Coach Strebeck expressed his pride in the team’s hard work, and hopes to make work with Mountain Outreach an annual event for the team.

“When we got back to campus that evening I told the team how proud of them I was and I think at that moment they realized what they all came together and achieved and how happy the owner was for all the work done,” said Strebeck. “I know they left feeling like they made a difference.”

The owner of the house expressed her gratitude, and at times sat on her porch with a ready smile, watching the students work. Some of the students took to the work easily, as if they had worked with power saws and drills prior to the MO experience, but many of them hadn’t. Many expressed feelings of pride and accomplishment once the work was done, and all proudly posed for photos with their work. Some of the students, like Rebekah, felt they were helped as much as they were helping.

“Getting involved in this project came at the perfect time, because I have really struggled with being homesick,” she said. “But working to help someone else helped me realize a greater meaning for why I am here and what God wants me to be doing while I’m away at school.”

Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major fields of study; nine pre-professional programs; twelve graduate degrees, including two doctorate, two specialist and eight master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs.

Article provided by Tiera Ball and Meghann Holmes, University of the Cumberlands Multimedia & Athletic Services