ABOVE: Cameron Goodrich, biology freshman, and Logan Weppler, marine biology junior, prepare grilled cheese sandwiches for the Circles Cowley County dinner on Monday evening. Goodrich and Weppler were among nearly a dozen Leadership Southwestern members who served dinner to the Circles attendants.
By Tessa Castor
On Monday night, Leadership Southwestern volunteered with Circles Cowley County, “an innovative, community-driven way to solve poverty.” Circles Cowley County hosts weekly dinners at area churches, and they provide an 18-month poverty education course.
“Volunteering with something like Circles is so important,” said Brae Wood, director of Leadership Southwestern. “At the surface value of the volunteer act itself, we are giving to the community of Winfield and learning about a great organization. In the deeper meaning, having community partners like Circles allows my students and team to ‘practice’ many aspects we teach of servant leadership in a real learning lab.”
“The Circles Approach” focuses on three stages – crisis management and stabilization, education, job placement and job retention, and advancement and economic stability. On Monday night, the dinner was hosted at Grace United Methodist Church.
“It’s important because Leadership aims to increase servant leadership qualities in our members,” said Megan Milch, biology junior. “Helping serve in our community strengthens that.”
Tim Rosproy, liberal arts and sciences senior, is a member of the leadership team. He has worked hands-on in Circles Cowley County for the last year, focusing on the organization as he has completed his senior project for Leadership. The leadership team felt it was important to support Rosproy, and volunteered at the dinner to do so.
“First of all, it was part of Tim’s senior project,” said Bailey Pfingsten, business administration junior. “Leadership has volunteered with Circles for many years now. Circles dinner helps feed those who are less fortunate, while also teaching those in attendance life lessons.”
“Our approach is based on research suggesting families in poverty must have strong community friendships and connections in order to improve their situation and end the constant struggle to manage their lives,” says the Circles Cowley County website.
For more information or to volunteer with Circles Cowley County, visit www.circlescowleycounty.org/volunteer.
“With dinners specifically, my students were exposed to some great people acting as servant leaders themselves,” said Wood.
Tessa Castor is a sophomore majoring in English. You may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.