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Collin College students give back to their community
Kelsey Kruzich / Staff Photo: JD Melvin, left, and Megan Haywood feed Collin, one of the two Nigerian dwarf goats that lives at Chestnut Square in McKinney.
By Bill Conrad, email@example.com, @Bill_PlanoStar on Twitter
Instead of heading to the beach or other exotic locales for spring break, a handful of Collin College students and faculty members chose to spend their week off doing community service projects for local nonprofits.
The college's annual Alternative Break program is in its third year. This year, participants worked at ManeGait, a therapeutic horse ranch, as well as Chestnut Square, located just south of downtown McKinney.
Terry Hockenbaugh, director of the college's center for scholarly and civic engagement, said many of the participants want to give back to their community and do something meaningful over spring break. She added many faculty members incorporate volunteer time into their curriculum and have students take lessons learned in class and apply them in the community.
"A lot of us out here are in a speech class and our professor is having us do a group speech over our volunteer project," said Linsey Montgomery, a sophomore from McKinney who worked with four classmates on the goat pen. "I enjoy being out here and helping. It gets us out of the house since I don't think any of us had anything to do over spring break but sit at home."
Chris Irwin, a sophomore from Melissa and one of Montgomery's classmates, said the group chose to work with animals for their service project. He said prior to working at Chestnut Square on Tuesday, several members of the class worked at ManeGait on Monday, where they cleaned out stalls and brushed down horses.
Irwin, as well as Montgomery; JD Melvin, a sophomore from Allen; Leslie Belmonte, a sophomore from Anna; and Megan Haywood, a sophomore from Anna, added chain-length fence to the goat pen, effectively doubling the living area for the goats. They also cleaned out the old hay and walked McKinney and Collin, 2-year-old Nigerian dwarf goats who are used as educational tools at Chestnut Square, around the grounds for their daily exercise.
Alice Yeager, the volunteer coordinator at Chestnut Square, said there are six buildings on the property and only five paid staff members to maintain them, teach educational classes and administer tours. She said with such a limited staff, volunteers are necessary for nearly all aspects of running Chestnut Square.
"We love our volunteers," Yeager said. "We have special events throughout the year, such as the Ice Cream Crank Off, a fashion show and a holiday tour of homes that has been going since 1973. All of it is volunteer based and couldn't be done without them."
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