Workship Memories: "School Part of U.S. Campaign, But Service Not New to PBAC"

Written by Don Horine, Palm Beach Post, 1991

Students at more than 200 colleges will try to convince the rest of the nation's college students this week that it's more fun to help out in the community than it is to party on campus.

At Palm Beach Atlantic College, the reaction is, "We knew that all the time."

In the first national Into the Streets program, thousands of college students will perform all kinds of tasks to help people living in their community.

PBAC is one of two Florida colleges participating, according to the organizers, the Campus Outreach Opportunity League, based at the University of Minnesota at Duluth. Rollins is the other Florida college.

About 500 PBAC students will participate in a long list of activities, mostly in the Grandview Heights and Flamingo Park neighborhoods near the college. They will paint a house, remove non-native plants from the Blowing Rocks preserve, clean up yards, hold a cookout for elderly patients in two nursing homes, collect trash from Peanut Island and put on a street festival and concert.

Such activities are new for students at most colleges, but not at PBAC.

Community service -- called Workship -- has been a requirement for students since the Baptist school was founded in 1968. To graduate, students must perform at least 45 hours of service a year. Many exceed that.

Marie Bellville, 21, a senior from Brooksville, Fla., has helped paint an 80-year-old woman's house in Boca Raton, arranged parties for foster children, cleaned up Peanut Island, planted sea oaks to restore dunes and worked on the Special Olympics.

This week she is helping coordinate Into the Street activities.

The satisfaction she gets, she says, is "knowing that something was done that needed to be done and that I made a difference in somebody's life or the environment."

Workship director Robert Boring tries to give students work they are particularly interested in. For example, psychology major Jori Couey is working with sexually abused women through the Palm Beach County Victims Services. Last year, Scott Donn, a senior, put in 350 hours at the Public Defender's Office. He is now in law school.

Workship activities go on the entire school year, but this year, for the first time, many are concentrated in the coming week.

Workship leaders are proud of PBAC's involvement in the national campaign, in which participating colleges will have at least 100 students performing work in their local communities. The week is aimed at encouraging more college students to participate in community service.

"It's exciting to see other colleges get involved in something we've been doing for a long time," says Scott Miller, Workship projects director.

Most of the projects will take place Saturday. Among them:

* Street Outreach Festival: Howard Park, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Features a street concert by Living Proof, a PBAC band, and a cookout. PBAC students will act as clowns, mimes and storybook characters.

* Habitat for Humanity Walk-a-thon: Palm Beach Atlantic College, 9 to 11 a.m. A 5-mile walk to raise money to build a home for the needy in Grandview Heights.