Helping others is part of Stephen Kuschman’s DNA. His mother and grandmother volunteer for a “support the U.S. troops” effort in Scarsdale, N.Y., assembling care packages for soldiers and holding fundraisers for military families.
Kuschman, a sophomore at Lehigh, learned the value of community service at a young age. In his last two years at Edgemont (N.Y.) High School, he coordinated midnight drives to bring food and clothing to homeless people in New York City.
Kuschman’s serve-first attitude has grown at Lehigh as he’s met like-minded people in the office of community service. Since October, he has been planning this weekend’s Ninth Annual Spring Fling, one of the office’s most popular events.
“Working through all the logistics, from planning activities and crafts to organizing food to getting the word out to area schools, has been a long process,” says Kuschman, “but it will turn out to be an amazing event.”
An egg hunt, magic, carnival games and more
Spring Fling is geared toward children in kindergarten to eighth grade and is the largest event organized by the office of community service. Last year’s event drew more than 1,000 people, including 375 children.
This year’s Spring Fling will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 27, on the University Center lawn. It will include an egg hunt, carnival games, face painting, a deejay, a magician, a moon bounce, storytelling, food, a scavenger hunt and more.
There will also be a cooking class for parents with recipes that are healthy and inexpensive. All activities are free of charge.
The Spring Fling tradition was started by Emily Aagaard ‘04, who worked with the office of community service to encourage children from South Side Bethlehem to visit campus.
“Emily and I realized that most kids from the local community never even step foot on campus,” says Carolina Hernandez, director of the office of community service. “We wanted a program that would accomplish this immediately, so we came up with an entire day dedicated to enjoying the campus and being exposed to college life.”
More than 200 Lehigh students have volunteered their time to prepare for this weekend’s event.
“It is a great experience being able to work at this event and getting to interact with all the kids and their families,” says Kuschman. “You truly get to make a difference in these families’ lives and feel so much more connected to the local community. These families are our neighbors and I am proud to say that most of the volunteers come away with a newfound love for our community.”