UMEI Staff and Students Grateful to Return to Service Project Days

Elyse Couto, Emma Brown, and Nathan Ribble pack food hampers at the Leamington Regional Food Hub

On Friday, October 21, students from UMEI Christian High school went into the community and spent the day volunteering at local service organizations.

“It’s so wonderful to be able to return to our tradition of service project days after the pandemic,” said principal Sonya Bedal. “Although we could serve at a few locations last year, this is the first time since Fall 2019 that we have been able to help so many organizations.”

Twice a year, the school pauses its academic classes so that students can serve others – one way UMEI lives out its mission of fostering servant leadership.

“We build it into the school year since it is part of our educational model,” explained Vice Principal Darcy Bults. “Students don’t receive volunteer hours for this time – it is part of a UMEI education.”

Grade 11 students Ben Recker and Aidan Brown work in the Care for Newcomer Children program at SECC

UMEI partnered with five organizations – South Essex Community Council, Southwestern Ontario Gleaners, Thrift of Mill, Leamington Regional Food Hub, and St. Vincent de Paul.

“It is really special that four of these five organizations are led by, or have key leadership from, UMEI graduates,” said Chani Wiens, Director of Enrollment & Community Engagement. “These are alumni that would have taken part of service project days while they were students here, and went on to make service their life’s work. It’s really impactful for current students to see that.”

Hailey St Pierre, Braedon Douglas, Cody Konrad, Jocelyn Giroux and Isabel Neufeld fill dry soup mix at the Southwestern Ontario Gleaners

Vern Toews, Director of the Leamington Regional Food Hub and 1954 UMEI graduate, expressed much gratitude for the student volunteers.

“When I see these young people working hard, it gives me hope for the future,” expressed Toews. “It makes me think – yeah, we are going to be okay.”

If you have an organization that would benefit from UMEI volunteers this spring, email the main office at


  1. Hi Janice

    Thanks for the headsup! We’ve made that correction now.

  2. Avatar Janice Rounding

    The caption under the first picture is incorrect. They are packing fresh vegetable hampers at Leamington HUB, not dried. Dried are packed at Gleaners.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.