By Ali Richardson, Staff Writer
The Hardin-Simmons University Honors Program has begun a partnership with Houses for Healing as a community service project. Members of the honors program have been looking for a community service project to keep up in the coming months and came across Houses for Healing.
Rylee Powell, a junior at HSU, working towards her major in biology and a minor in honors and biochemistry is the chair of the service committee for the Honors Program.
The Honors Program was looking for a long-term service project that they would be able to do, rather than just once a semester. As well as looking for a place to build community and relationships.
“We are wanting to create an ongoing partnership with a ministry called Houses for Healing. So, the most recent service work we’ve actually done was some lawn care for them, and that is something we hope to continue and something we have just kind of taken upon ourselves to make our own service project out of,” Powell said.
Powell explained what is already established as well as the growth the ministry hopes to see in the future. “Basically, we have started to establish a partnership with this ministry. The ministry is located on Hickory Street, so [it’s] really close to campus and right now they have four small houses, and they are in the process of rezoning the land to build even more,” Powell said.
Powell explained what the ministry does in Abilene and why they do it. “The goal of it is to be a resource to people who are needing medical care. So maybe someone who was recently diagnosed with cancer and needed chemotherapy treatment for eight weeks. But maybe they live in Breckenridge and it’s a one-hour commute for them, so these houses are places where patients can come and stay so they can live here in Abilene, which is a medical hub for the surrounding area of Abilene. They can stay in these houses for no fee. They are taken care of by local churches and other organizations, and people like us in the Honors Program were just wanting to partner with their ministry because we think what they are doing is awesome.
So, we just want to do some more service projects for them,” Powell said.
Powell explained what the Honors Program hopes to do in the future through this partnership while building a sense of community. “Ongoing lawn care is something that we are really wanting to be involved in. We want to host regular cookouts over there just as a fun event for the patients. This is a really difficult time in their lives and we just want to be some people who can hang out with and have conversations with them and hear their stories, where they’re at and what they’re going through. Just be a listening ear, providing a fun little event for them, whether that’s a cookout or playing some backyard games,” Powell said.
The hope of the Honors Program is to continue to bless the people and Houses for Healing by going above and beyond in providing service projects throughout the year. Especially since the Honors Program is expanding.
“They want to build houses in the future. But right now, they have one larger house next to the existing four smaller houses. But this one community house would be a gathering place for everyone living in the smaller houses. Hopefully we can have some other service projects where we come in and help get this house back in shape because it’s pretty rundown right now. It needs a lot of work. There are a lot of weeds and things growing around it, so we’d like to come in and get that cleaned up. That’s another project we’d like to be a part of. Potentially cleaning the houses between guests, so after one moves out and before another moves in. Hopefully taking meals over there randomly to the patients,” Powell said.
“We’re trying to figure out what all this looks like still. Just the past few weeks, we’ve officially established, we’re here to serve you and we want to be a part of your ministry,” Powell said.