Local Nonprofits Benefit from Mount Marty College Watertown Students’ Summer Service-Learning Internships

August 24, 2016

This summer, several nonprofits in and around the communities that Mount Marty College calls home Watertown area — including Habitat for Humanity Greater Watertown Region, Boys and Girls Club of Watertown and the Beacon Center — benefited from the work provided by numerous Mount Marty College (MMC) students. Summer service-learning internships give students an opportunity to donate their time in meaningful service, and participating students say they gained as much as they gave.

“At Mount Marty College, community service plays a substantial role in the overall student experience,” said Cassi Johnson, assistant director of MMC’s Watertown location. “Not only does the college encourage its students to reach out to local organizations in need of volunteers throughout the year, but service-learning classes and subsequent internships are also required of many MMC degree programs.”

Raschon Simmons, a human services major from Minneapolis, spent the summer interning at the Beacon Center, a private, nonprofit organization that provides free services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Simmons, who plans to pursue a career in social work, shadowed the direct services coordinator, spent time at the courthouse, performed some clerical work and gained firsthand knowledge of how the court system operates.

“I was able to learn so much about what goes into taking someone into the shelter as well as the different services clients are provided,” Simmons says.

Habitat for Humanity of the Greater Watertown Region provided another service opportunity for MMC students. Senior Heather Maag, a psychology major from Florence, South Dakota, says working at the local nonprofit opened her eyes to the struggles of people in her own community.

“I learned that donations and volunteers are the main foundation for keeping this organization up and running,” she says. “With them, it gives people the option to have simple, affordable housing. This is such as amazing organization for our community to have.”

Trevor Miller

Like many other MMC student volunteers, Trevor Miller found that time was one of the best services he could offer. Miller, a criminal justice major from Parker, South Dakota, volunteered at the Boys & Girls Club of Watertown, where he worked with kids who attended the organization’s various programs and activities. More than just playing games and interacting with the kids, Miller’s job, he says, was about being a good role model. And when asked about the most challenging aspect of his service-learning project, his answer is simple.

“Not being able to spend as much time with the kids as you could like to,” he says.

As a Catholic Benedictine institution, MMC aims to prepare its students for a contemporary world of work, service to the community and personal growth, and the service-leaning component is a direct tie-in to the college’s Benedictine values.

“It’s so valuable for students to learn about nonprofit functioning,” said Theresa Schake, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Greater Watertown Region, who is also an MMC alum. “And for the places where the students volunteer, we benefit from having the extra hands for our day-to-day operations. It’s also an excellent opportunity to raise awareness for the many nonprofit organizations that serve the needs of our community.”

To learn more about service opportunities and clubs at MMC, please visit mtmc.edu/campus-life.