The Welding Program at Rockford Career College Fuses Compassion and Skill while Warming Hearts
It’s no secret that the Rockford-area has many homeless individuals out there on the streets. Anywhere you choose to travel downtown Rockford, you are guaranteed to see at least one, but more than likely multiple, people in a small radius. In fact, we have some homeless people living right outside of Rockford Community College’s walls. With a skate park nearby and many businesses surrounding the area, we are located in a spot where someone without shelter is able to be covered.
But it’s getting cold out.
Winter is coming and as we all know, the Midwest can go from 70 degrees down to 30 degrees in less than a day. Our students have taken notice of the cold weather as they are implementing a coat drive on campus to help those who are without before the harsh weather really hits. Some students, however, wanted to do more than just help those within the walls of RCC. Our welding students wanted to help the homeless people they see each morning outside of our campus.
One student reached out to one of the people he saw regularly. This individual advised him of a small homeless community located very close to campus. In order to combat winter, groups use a wood burner in order to stay warm. This person informed our student of his concern for the approaching season because their wood burner was broken and would need to be replaced, but they had no way of doing such.
After hearing about this individual’s struggles, the wheels were turning in the student’s head. He sought action and reached out to the instructors. The instructors agreed with what the student wanted to do and began networking for him. Ultimately, and very quickly, they were able to accomplish what they had set out to do - With the use of some donated materials and the manual labor of the students, they were able to not only replace the wood burner, but improve on it to better ensure its longevity throughout what is predicted by the Farmer’s Almanac to be a very brutal Illinois winter.
Without much direction, these students made it possible to take what they had been learning in class and apply it to a real-life situation. This gave them the opportunity to help members of our community. It is the mission of Rockford Career College to educate our students with a relevant, well-rounded occupational education, provide employers with well-prepared graduates, and serve our community partners. The welding students could not have exemplified what it means to be a part of the Rockford Career College family any better through their actions. They have reminded us to be smart and stay warm this approaching winter season; but most of all, remain compassionate.