Into the Streets at Messiah College
Messiah College has held an annual one-day service event based on the ITS model every year since 1999. Since then, the program has become a wonderful introduction to Messiah's unique emphasis on service. Every year, around 700 first-year and transfer students wake up on only the second day of their college careers to serve with a handful of professors in the greater Harrisburg area. In the past, ITS has sent students to as many as 50 local agencies to serve by building, cleaning, weeding, listening, learning, painting, and even picking apples! Students, Community Partners, Peer Group Leaders, and Professors all report that Into the Streets is a great day for accomplishing goals and building relationships.
History of Into the Streets
ITS was founded in 1991 with support from the Kellogg Foundation. It was originally a project of The Campus Outreach Opportunity League, a national non-profit organization that works with college students to develop community service programs. Currently, ITS occurs on hundreds of undergraduate campuses annually throughout the United States. Operating under the motto, "Try it for a day, you may love it for a lifetime," ITS provides a model for a one-day community service program aimed at encouraging people to volunteer within their communities. *
* Courtesy of AMSA Standing Committee on Community and Public Health, "Into the Streets: How to Plan a Community Service Day Project at Your School."
More than Just a One-Time Project
Although ITS serves the community by getting a whole lot of work done in one day, the real benefits of the program extend throughout the school year. By sending students out into the community before they have a chance to settle into a routine that doesn't seem to leave time for service, the program hopes to establish community involvement as a priority right from the start. Students challenged to serve as a result of ITS can plug into any of the existing programs run by the Agape Center. In addition, by involving professors teaching First Year Seminars, ITS can serve as a launch pad for service learning in the classroom.