Students in a Human Services class at Gateway Technical College, Elkhorn, came up with a project to collect gifts for residents at Kindred Hearts. While delivering the gifts, many of the students and residents formed friendships, including Taylor Banas and Ed Enright. See more photos in the Feb. 28 Independent. (Dave Dresdow photo)

Gateway class delivers – and receives – the gift of friendship

By Heather Ruenz

SLN Staff

Candace Ruman, a human services teacher at Gateway Technical College in Elkhorn, works with students who plan to become counselors and social workers. But even she was touched by a recent project her class took on.

“Every semester my intro class comes up with a different cause to help the community. This year they selected to help Kindred Hearts during the holidays by giving residents a gift,” Ruman said.

Ruman was a marriage counselor for 25 years before becoming a teacher, which she has now been doing for eight years. She said in the past her intro classes have come up with projects for Agape House, the Boys and Girls Club, Twin Oaks Homeless Shelter, food pantries and so on.

“For the project to be successful, the students get to choose and it needs to be something they have their heart in,” she said.

The Kindred Hearts project began with a tree put up in the atrium at Gateway, called The Giving Tree. It had tags on it and each tag listed a gift, which the class had gotten from Kindred Hearts as wish lists for the residents.

“People took a tag, went and purchased the gift and then brought it back, wrapped, which they didn’t have to do…”

Read the rest of the story and see more photos from the delivery in this week’s Elkhorn Independent and future issues of other Southern Lakes Newspapers’ publications. 


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