Intercollegiate YMCA Students Save Orphanage from Closure / by Zina Daniel

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This has truly blessed us with the ability to stay open and keep these children in a safe place.
— Major Selburn Laing
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Students from Intercollegiate YMCA-Indianapolis recently spent Spring Break in Mandeville, Jamaica. While on the annual service trip, students served the Moorlands Summer Camp, a Christian, residential summer camp for children and young adults, as well as Hanbury Home for Children, an orphanage and non-governmental organization (NGO) founded in 1956.

“While we focus heavily on connecting with the children at the orphanage, we also conversed with our friends about how we might also connect with the city of Mandeville,” said Jeff Mabry, executive director of Intercollegiate YMCA. “What do families need? What is culturally appropriate for our group to be involved in? What can the YMCA do to promote lasting change?”

Students from Intercollegiate YMCA led a camp day with the kids from Hanbury, built cubbies for the boys’ dorm, organized donations, and changed electrical outlets at the orphanage, which was especially impactful.

Creating a place where children can feel safe

RecentIy, another orphanage in Jamaica suffered the death of a child due to an electrical issue. As a result, regulations changed across the country and called for rapid electrical upgrades to children’s homes in order to ensure kids’ safety.

Hanbury Home, like many others, struggled to keep their doors open because the upgrades are costly and the new regulations were challenging. An inspection at Hanbury by the government cited a number of issues that needed to be resolved or else it risked closure. 

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Intercollegiate YMCA brought expertise and electrical supplies purchased in the States. Student volunteers were trained on basic electrical knowledge and skills, and with supervision, upgraded outlets across the Hanbury campus, making them all child-safe — saving the orphanage from closure.

“This has truly blessed us with the ability to stay open and keep the children in a safe place,” said Major Selburn Laing.

“The six students who worked on this project essentially saved the orphanage from closing,” said Mabry. “We’re so proud of all of them.”

Intercollegiate YMCA proves that a bit of effort, time, sweat, and compassion can translate into keeping 53 children safe and happy in their home.

To help fund service both here and abroad, Intercollegiate YMCA students from UIndy, Butler, IUPUI and Ivy Tech are Spring Cleaning at homes across Central Indiana. For a donation of $175 - $500, they can help with gardening, weeding, cleaning, painting and more. It’s perfect for busy families, older adults and those with health or physical limitations. Register now for any Saturday in April!

To make an online contribution that will help the good work of Intercollegiate YMCA, visit indymca.org/annual-campaign-support.