Steppin’ Out improves lives of individual locals

Senior Mason Turner (middle) and his fellow members of Kappa Sigma volunteer for Steppin' Out in the Elm Mott community this past Saturday. MJ Routh | Multimedia Journalist

By Lizzie Thomas | Staff Writer

While many students were picking up large trash residents can’t handle on their own with Keep Waco Beautiful or packing up the Art Center to move downtown Saturday, others helped individual residents.

2,100 volunteers served at almost 70 locations, the largest number of service sites in Steppin’ Out history, according to a Baylor press release.

Steppin’ Out exposes students who are not already serving in the community to the value of those opportunities, but regardless of whether organizations retain their temporary volunteers, residents benefit from the biannual burst of help.

Susan Barnes is a family friend of Maxine Crosby, the Waco resident a group of Baylor students helped for Steppin’ Out. Barnes became a part of the family’s life through Crosby’s grandchildren’s school 15 years ago. Saturday, Barnes delegated tasks and helped them figure out what needed to be done.

“There’s a lot of junk and debris around … The lady that lives here is 73 years old. She’s retired; she’s not able to get out and clean up herself,” Barnes said.

The group of students and Crosby’s family members were working to clear Crosby’s lot of storm debris and overgrown brush.

“The [Baylor students] came and cleared up different stuff that was in the backyard, lots of raking of leaves and lots of tree trimming,” Barnes said. “They just cleaned it up for her and made it a lot more presentable.”

Emily Perkins, Crosby’s granddaughter, joined in the effort with the students and said the house and lot were in need of an overhaul and more man-hours than the family could provide.

“They helped us bag up leaves, trash, other things that she doesn’t need,” Perkins said. “I’m just glad that they helped, because this is years of stuff — literally.”

Though serving individual residents may not have the measurable impact or exciting progress that work with a local organization may provide, residents still appreciate the service.

Belton senior Megan Taylor, executive director of Steppin’ Out, said in the press release that the relationships built while serving the community that hosts Baylor students are some of the most profound and valuable college experiences.

“Our service event not only fosters a servant heart that is explicitly visible beyond the Steppin’ Out event each semester but also grows Christian leadership in a unique way that is later translated world wide when our students graduate from Baylor,” Taylor said.