Since its founding in 1965, MTI College has been a community-based institution with a strong focus on the community in which it exists. As a result, the community service in which MTI College students, faculty and staff participate has also been a major focus of the College as a whole. For Rochelle Barnes, Desktop Applications and Keyboarding Instructor, that community service is paramount.
“I could see the need. [Some students] have no coat and they’re going to school to better themselves,” she said when I spoke with her during her twice-annual Share Ware event on November 29th. MTI Students swarmed room 111 sorting through racks and stacks of clothing that had been donated by MTI students, faculty and staff. Suits and dresses hung on a clothing rack in the middle of the room surrounded by tables piled with neatly folded clothing lining all four walls.
“I will look sharp in this suit,” one student exclaimed after trying on a grey, three-button, single-breasted suit. Barnes congratulated him on his find and saw him off. It was remarkable how she seemed to know every single student. When asked how that came to be, she explained that since she teaches Keyboarding and Desktop Applications, she has nearly every MTI student in her classroom at least once. Another student who Barnes knew well came over very excited about finding some Nursing scrubs with a fun and bright pattern on them. Since the medical students can wear any color scrubs on Fridays, the selection of scrubs usually goes fast, Barnes explained.
The Share Ware event happens twice annually, giving MTI students the opportunity to acquire the clothing they need for job interviews at no cost. Barnes explained that a portion of the students at MTI are single parents, maybe unemployed or trying to get their feet under them and simply don’t have the resources to go out and purchase new business clothes. Fortunately, there is a large faculty and staff population at MTI who has had the time and opportunity to build a wardrobe that occasionally needs some thinning. “They’re on board and willing to help,” says Barnes. This year, the third year that Share Ware has happened, there was even a large selection of children’s clothing which seemed to be a big draw.
During our conversation, a Nursing student came up to Barnes and asked if she could donate to the Adopt-A-Family program right then. Barnes asked her to find her in her office during her usual office hours and bring a check written to her or cash to donate. She then explained that, like Share Ware, Adopt-A-Family is also in its third year. The program goes through the Volunteer Center of Sacramento who qualifies candidate families through various household and income requirements. From there, MTI is given a family who has a list of items (things like refrigerators, vacuums, household items, etc…) that they need which the students, faculty and staff of MTI work to provide by Christmas. Donations of cash, checks or the items themselves are welcomed in this process and, just like with Share Ware, a donation to this program will fulfill the community service requirement for an MTI student. “We try to bring [the community service] to the students so it doesn’t interfere with work time,” said Barnes. At the conclusion of the Adopt-A-Family fundraiser, MTI hopes to provide the items on the list plus a $50-$100 gift card for groceries to the family.
Share Ware and Adopt-A-Family are just two of the amazing Community Service programs that MTI offers. The College participated in Lee National Denim Day (denimday.com) on Monday, October 1st. For a $5 donation, any student, faculty or staff member could wear jeans for the day. That $5 went half to local Breast Cancer organizations and half to national research to fight, treat and prevent Breast Cancer. This year, MTI raised over $500.
MTI also works hand-in-hand with Twin Lakes Food Bank in Folsom throughout the year. Not only does MTI ask for donations to give Easter Baskets to the Food Bank in the Spring, but Barnes personally designed the program for a recent event that the Food Bank hosted, saving them over $700.
On the cosmetology side, MTI’s Paul Mitchell the School participates in the Paul Mitchell Corporate “FUNraising” on an annual basis. Paul Mitchell’s “FUNraising” season is a network-wide fundraising marathon with hundreds of schools participating. Paul Mitchell the School – MTI College hosts events like fashions shows, car washes and bake sales raising thousands of dollars annually to benefit non-profit organizations like the Morris Animal Foundation, Children’s Miracle Network, Cancer Schmancer and more.
In short, MTI’s efforts to be a force for good in the community have never ceased. Now, with faculty members like Carla Kearney (who organizes the MTI Blood Drive coming up on the 20th) and Rochelle Barnes spearheading many of the service opportunities, MTI College is only becoming a bigger force for service in the Sacramento area.