September 8, 2016 marked the 36th anniversary of Project Impact, and the second consecutive year coordinated by Cainan Ming, a senior sports management and business major from Bermuda.
Project Impact marks a day when Union College kin take time out of their personal schedules to disperse throughout the community, reaching out to others through acts of kindness and service.
As tempting as it would be to just show up with a group of friends at a stranger’s door, that isn’t how the world works in this day and age. For Project Impact to happen, prep work needs to be done beforehand, calls made, appointments set and papers signed.
All of this goes on behind the scenes weeks before Union students hit the streets each year, determined to make a difference in the community.
When asked what a Project Impact coordinator does Ming explains, “You start off with calling as many sites as you can, seeing if they need volunteers for that day. If they say yes, then you put them down. If they say no, then you move on to the next.”
Project Impact is especially meaningful to Ming, because “it’s the catalyst for Campus Ministries. Our goal is service—not just on-campus, but off-campus. This gives a huge opportunity for each student to have at least one volunteer experience for the year. And if they enjoy it they have another opportunity to go back and continue,” he shares.
Project Impact isn’t just about doing community service, though; it’s also about reaching out as the hands and feet of Christ, doing what He would do. Ming shares, “A lot of these stories never get told, but there’s a lot of impact in the community. Last year we weren’t able to make it to someone’s apartment and they felt hurt.”
In addition, knowing you helped someone who shouldn’t need to repay you is a great feeling.
“When I finish helping someone I feel pretty good about myself,” comments Ming. “Some people we go to aren’t able to even sweep the floor, and just sweeping the floor means a whole lot to that person because someone took the time out of their day to help them. It just feels good to help someone else.”
In an attempt to get another day off of school to do community service, I asked Ming if there was the slightest chance to arrange a Project Impact part two sometime later in the year. Call me ambitious.
However, Ming was ready with the perfect response. He encourages us to partake in the opportunities every week throughout the year. And if there aren’t, all it takes is asking anyone in Campus Ministries what you could do.
Ming also spoke a few words of advice for future Project Impact coordinators, “Never give up. No matter how good or bad the situation looks it will always be a success.”
Thank you, Cainan Ming, for your diligent work in putting together Project Impact yet another year.
Sean Hendrix is a senior studying biomedical science.