FROM READERS: Business school students volunteer in Joplin

Monday, May 21, 2012 | 5:15 p.m. CDT
Here is a photo of the wooden butterflies we assembled. We worked with Catholic Charities of Southwest Missouri for this project. Julie Niehaus is pictured.

Julie Niehaus is a recent MU graduate and a member of the Cornell Leadership Program. She participated in a volunteer trip to Joplin and shared this story from her time there.

These pictures are from a May 16-18 trip to Joplin with the Cornell Leadership Program in Mizzou's Trulaske College of Business (it's a student leadership program for business majors).  

I was a participant in the program. I am a recent MU graduate and member of the program. Approximately 35 students and faculty went on the trip.

Throughout the three-day trip, we worked on a variety of projects including laying laminate floors at a retired veteran's house, clearing the high school baseball field and parking lot, planting trees, and cutting wooden butterflies to be carried in tomorrow's commemorative walk and placed at rebuilding sites throughout the town.

Most of the photos were taken by MU junior Leah Bartmess.

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's howSupervising editor is Joy Mayer.

Our group wore these T-shirts on our last day of volunteering. Because they made us easy to mark as a volunteer group, countless citizens and visitors to Joplin stopped and thanked us for our service.
Program participant Jamie Fitzgerald wrote "home is wherever I'm with you" on home plate of the original Joplin High School baseball field. It's a reference to a song titled "Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. We cleared the field in preparation for the memory walk.
These stars could be found throughout town at various sites. To us, they were a reminder of Joplin citizens' strength and endurance while facing the difficult challenge of rebuilding.
This is the rubble near the destroyed high school. Part of our recovery process was cleaning off bricks and stacking them so that they could be reused.
We put our operations management skills to use (business majors!) as we cleared off bricks and stacked them as part of the rebuilding process.

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