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Service Auctions Raise $17k for Charities
December 7, 2004

In the two weeks preceding Thanksgiving, students from Calvin College's residence halls raised over $17,000 for seven Grand Rapids community organizations by auctioning off a lot of goods and plenty of zany services.

Students from each residence hall raised money for organizations they already serve as tutors, after-school helpers and recreational activity leaders. The money will enhance their existing programs with their partner organizations.

So, last month residents of Rooks-Van Dellen raised $2,350 for Baxter Community Center, while Shultze-Eldersveld brought in $1,425 for Roosevelt Park Christian Reformed Church. The residents of Bolt-Heyns-Timmer raised $1,800 for Kidz Klub and students in Beets-Veenstra totaled $3,320 for the Christian Learning Center. The $2,222 raised by Kalsbeek-Huizenga will help Burton Middle School, Boer-Bennink's $3,100 will benefit the Grandville Avenue Library and $3,020 from Noordewier-Vander Werp will go to programs with Camelot Woods.

Bolt-Heyns-Timmer community partnership coordinator Janelle Rekman of Camlachie, Ontario, says her hall's total will help expand the Kidz Klub program, where Calvin students serve as tutors.

"We go every day after school for an hour except Fridays," she says. "The money that we raised will probably go towards supplies and fun activities to do with the kids. For example, earlier this year we brought all the kids over to our dorm and had a pizza party, and they just loved it. I hope that second semester we can do more thing like that."

The goods for sale at the recent auctions were mostly edible - homemade cookies, pies, brownies, crepes and salsa - though handmade fleece pillows, hand-knitted scarves and duct tape sandals (made to fit) were also available.

The services, meanwhile, ranged from the mundane - bathroom cleanings, proofreading services, tutoring, laundry services, dinner dates, backrubs and computer troubleshooting - to the unusual. How unusual? Try piggy back rides to class, help with planning and executing pranks, indoor rock climbing, a bedtime story, random packages in mailbox, hugs and a two-person entourage for a day.

There were also trips - snowshoeing, canoe, sailing and kayak to name a few - plus lots of lessons - guitar, art, cooking, language, sports, juggling and even the services of a personal trainer.

Residence hall leadership and each hall's community partnership coordinator pulled outrageous stunts to push the bidding higher, everything from shaved eyebrows and heads to a couple of plunges in a notorious pond on campus.

Calvin's associate dean of residence life Rick Zomer says the long-standing tradition is an important one for the college.

"I don't know how exactly how long the residence halls have been doing these auctions," he says. "I was a freshman here 15 years ago and they were taking place then. (But they do) give students a sense of commitment to helping those in need."

Bolt-Heyns-Timmer president Abigail Rockey of Glenside, Pa., agrees.

"We had a great time," she says. "I think we were entertained. But college sometimes is a very self-centered time, so we tried to make this an opportunity right on our doorstep to help people in the community."

~words by media relations staff writer Myrna Anderson