Students and faculty line the streets preparing for the busy day ahead. Student volunteers distribute T-shirts, Sodexo employees serve breakfast and groups gather the tools needed for their service projects. It is an early morning, but Tiger Serve Day (TSD) volunteers are ready, smiles unwavering. This day is full of fellowship and fun, but most importantly, it is full of serving the Arkadelphia community that Ouachita students are lucky to call home.
Hosted by the Ben M. Elrod Center for Family and Community, Tiger Serve Day happens once every semester. The service event begins on a Saturday morning and ends around lunchtime. Students sign up to go with a group of 6-10 of their peers and serve the community in a variety of ways. Many teams will do manual labor, such as raking leaves or washing windows, for individuals who need assistance maintaining their homes and yards.
By Emilee Webb, Staff Writer
Tammy Honey, a resident of Arkadelphia, has been a recipient of this assistance for several years. Honey is thankful for the help Ouachita students consistently provide.
“Everybody that comes, they do a great job, and they’re just as friendly as they can be. You know, I really enjoy that sometimes they have little stories. I like hearing that,” Honey said.
Due to her positive experience, Honey advertises TSD to her neighbors and friends. Honey observes that many people in the community appreciate the help that the students’ service provides. She also appreciates the impact that this service has on Arkadelphia as a whole.
“Y’all usually end up sending a lot of people out here. Me, my former neighbor, several people across the street and most of my neighbors are in their 70s, 80s and 90s, and they really need that kind of work. They need that kind of help, and they really appreciate it and look forward to it every year,” Honey said.
While Honey values the tangible impact of TSD, she also cherishes the relational impact it has on both the workers and recipients.
“I see it as a way for y’all to get out and to talk with older people and get their stories. There are some very interesting older people, and I know they talk a lot because I do too. I know they appreciate that as well,” Honey said.
TSD also focuses on spreading Christ’s love throughout the community. This focus has not gone unnoticed for Honey.
“You’re serving the Lord while you’re doing it,” Honey said. “That’s something I really appreciate because it’s something you don’t see as much anymore, and I miss that.”
By Sara Patterson, Editor-in-Chief
“This is home for me,” Mozell Dangerfield, another TSD recipient, said.
Dangerfield has called Arkadelphia home for her entire life until she moved to a rehabilitation facility in Little Rock last year. After a year away from home, Dangerfield recently moved back to Arkadelphia. She is excited for students to return to her house this year.
“I’m glad to be back home. I look forward to seeing you guys every year because you all are a very important source of help and I appreciate you the most. I don’t know what I would do without you,” Dangerfield said.
While Dangerfield is glad to be back in Arkadelphia, she is still adjusting. One TSD team will have the opportunity to make Dangerfield’s transition easier, to make her house feel more like home.
“I’m trying to get used to my house. A lot of work needs to be done,” Dangerfield said.
Many teams go to the homes of elderly individuals who are unable to do maintenance work themselves. Students willing to lend their time and energy to alleviate these burdens are a great help to the recipients of their service.
“They always rake my yard and they might help me with my flowers. They also help me on the inside of the house. If my windows need washing, they wash them down. They do a marvelous job,” Dangerfield said.
Dangerfield is pleased with the work students do every semester. She has also noticed that students enjoy the day as much as she does.
For a student who has not participated in TSD before or is unsure about signing up, Dangerfield would say that the sacrifice of time and effort is worth it.
“I would tell them that they’d enjoy it. If they like working around homes that they’ve never been to before. The work that I give them is never real hard work; it’s just normal manual labor,” Dangerfield said. “It will be a time that they will never forget.”
The deadline to register for Tiger Serve Day is this Friday, Sept. 17. Students may register as an individual or with a group. To find more information or register to serve, visit www.obu.edu/elrod/serve.