COLUMBIA, S.C. (courtesy ciu.edu) — The community came together for an exciting day of service with the students of Columbia International University joining with the students of Benedict College and Columbia College for RAMServe on April 5. The Ram is the CIU mascot, but in this case, RAM stands for “Renewal Around the Midlands” with the motto of “Family, friends and neighbors serving together.”
But it’s not just higher education that volunteered for cleanup and repair projects. Over 100 high school students from Ben Lippen, CIU’s Pre-K to 12th grade Christian school participated.
Three other Columbia area schools will serve on another day as the threat of severe late after storms prompted school officials at Dreher, Eau Claire and Lower Richland high schools to postpone school activities.
Also participating were RAMServe sponsors including Chick-fil-A, The Home Depot, Prisma Health, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, the United Way of the Midlands, and LoveCola, a coalition of churches and community partners.
In all, about 1,000 students and community volunteers took part in in renewal activities such as the Salvation Army’s “Kettles for Ukraine” (ringing bells outside local grocery stores); organizing clothes at the Oliver Gospel Mission Thrift Store; roadside trash pick up; preparing the foundation for an outbuilding at a ministry to members of the military; and assisting elderly residents with yard work and even keeping them company by playing board games with them.
At Reconciliation Ministries, an outreach to those struggling with addictions, the CIU women’s softball team cleaned the offices and added a fresh coat of paint.
CIU Rams’ pitcher Julia Thielen said, “Doing the little things always makes such a huge difference,” and says serving the community was a bonding experience for the team.
“We’re always together, but seeing each other come together and serve is such a great experience,” Thielen said.
An opening ceremony in Shortess Chapel featured among others: CIU President Dr. Mark A. Smith, representatives of Benedict College and Columbia College, a representative of Prisma Health, Richland County Council members, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, Ben Lippen Headmaster Dr. Tony Fajardo, and Aaron Bishop, a member of the Richland One School Board, who is also a CIU doctoral student.
Last spring, CIU held its own service event, “Serving Cola City,” but organizers multiplied the impact this year with “Family, friends and neighbors serving together.”
Check out the local news coverage of RAMServe from ABC Columbia’s Alex Tejada.