My name is Caleb Schulz and I am currently an Early Childhood Education Major at UW-Stout. I chose this major to potentially make a difference in young lives and inspire future generations. I have been involved in the Men in Education group since my freshman year and have grown closer to my classmates doing so. Everything we do as an organization we do together, that is what makes the group of guys so special. This year I have taken charge of organizing men in the group to help with the volunteer opportunity known as Thursday’s Table.
Growing up in a relatively small town has taught me a variety of life lessons and a strong sense of what a community should look like. In today’s world, it seems rare to have someone volunteer their time without receiving an award. Thursday’s Table has been a rewarding experience for me and others who have volunteered our time.
Every Thursday, the First Congregational United Church of Christ hosts a meal for anyone in the community, completely free of charge. As student volunteers, we are more than welcome to have a meal ourselves, in fact, we are offered to go for second helpings most nights! We usually arrive shortly after five o’clock but when the clock strikes 6:00 p.m. that is when begin clearing and cleaning tables and vacuuming the floor. Although the whole process takes only about ten minutes, I am amazed at the great feeling that is in my heart when I leave. The absolute best part of the experience is the countless number of times people thank us for our efforts. It appears that they truly appreciate our help. All the people whom I have talked with have taken time to share meaningful stories with me.
Thursday’s Table has not only enhanced my social skills but has helped to build relationships with people in the community. This opportunity has contributed to building a strong bond between the Men’s organization at UW-Stout and the community. I hope to implement some type of volunteer work with future students of mine when I have my own classroom. I feel that it is important for generations to come together and learn to communicate with one another and some sort of volunteer opportunity may help other to experience the heartfelt emotions I have.
[MenTeach: Dr. Jill has been working to increase and retain men in her education program. We asked her to write about her experiences as a woman facilitator. You can find the other articles here.]