SAU Students Step Up for Their Community

QC Caring Assignment: Three College Students Make a Collective Impact for Their Neighbors in Need

What happens when you have 120 days to make a positive difference in the life of someone else?

That’s the question we asked when we launched our QC Caring Assignment last fall. The project challenged dozens of students and young professionals to help us spark a movement of caring here in the Quad Cities, by growing $100 to improve the lives of people in our community.

These emerging leaders’ stories are starting to roll in, and we couldn’t be prouder. Huge thank you to these students for showing us what generosity looks like.

Today, we’d like to share with you news of three St. Ambrose University students who are leading the charge to make a real difference. Madeline Blackbourn, Kierstyn Johnson and Grace Murk are among the 50 young adults tackling projects to foster kindness and generosity.

Grace Murk

Grace Donates Hygiene Essentials to MLK Center

Grace Murk, a double major in Social Work and Women Studies, was inspired to make an impact when she interned at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Rock Island. She worked with staff at the center to hold a donation drive for personal essentials.

With the help of her Triota Honor Society she was able to buy hygiene products that served clients of the center and public restroom users alike.

Murk says, as someone who hails from a small town originally, this experience gave her insight into how larger communities work together.

“I’m not from the Quad Cities. So, being able to intern at the MLK Center specifically, I was able to see how the QC community works, because I come from such a small town,” said Murk. “It was just awesome for me, specifically as a Women and Gender Studies major, also because I am helping other people in our community.”

Maddie Blackbourn

Madeline Makes a Difference for Adults With Down Syndrome

Madeline Blackbourn took her commitment to #MakeCaringFamous to the next level when she partnered with GiGi’s Playhouse in Moline.

She put her occupational therapy knowledge into practice by creating and leading an adult fitness class. She also purchased holiday gift cards for the achievement center dedicated to helping individuals with Down Syndrome — demonstrating that anyone has the power to give back. By holding a raffle, she was able to double her impact.

“It was a good way to open your eyes to what is going on around the world and how you can contribute to making those lives around you better,” said Blackbourn.

Keirstyn Johnson

Kierstyn Spreads Holiday Cheer for Local Youth

Passionate and determined to make a difference, Kierstyn Johnson used the opportunity of her Caring Assignment to have an undeniable impact on local youth in Davenport. Through Big Brothers Big Sisters, she provided families with Thanksgiving essentials such as turkeys, hams and winter necessities including coats, hats and gloves — inspiring hope for those who may not otherwise have had it during this season.

“It was really inspiring, and it really helped me to grow as a person to see the impact that I could have,” said Johnson. “These kids don’t have all the things that I do. So, I thought it was really important for them to have those experiences and make those memories with their family.”

This is a Small but Powerful Example of Collective Giving

Thank you to our sponsors Northwest Bank & Trust CompanySmart Automotive of DavenportBuild To Suit, Inc.Cordogan Clark & AssociatesRussellEstes Construction and the Quad City Federation of Labor for helping to multiply the impact of these young leaders.

We look forward to sharing stories of our Caring Assignment leaders in the coming months. For more information, follow us on FacebookInstagram and LinkedIn.

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