‘It was rewarding simply because I put my heart into it’

Upper: NC’s  Out of the Cold team including Terry Holub, Jessica Davis, Misty Hamilton and Michelle Swaerdens, present a cheque to Out of the Cold at Holy Trinity Church in Niagara Falls on Dec. 16.

Lower: NC’s fundraising team for out of the Cold pose for a photo at their pasta dinner event held at the Royal Canadia Legion in Ridgeway.  


Misty Hamilton couldn’t help but get choked up when she presented a donation to Out of the Cold.

The first-year Criminal Justice Services student found herself holding back tears – sad tears for the less fortunate, as well as happy tears for the opportunity to help. 

Hamilton and her classmates from NC’s Criminal Justice Services program have been fundraising to support Out of the Cold. She was part of a group from NC to present a donation of $4,570 to Out of the Cold’s Niagara Falls program on Dec. 16 at Holy Trinity Church.

“Out of the Cold is such great cause. It really pushed us to raise as much money as possible,” she said. “It was a great team effort. All the students involved took time selflessly out of their lives and worked hard.”  

It was a meaningful experience for Hamilton.

“Doing this gave me a sense of giving back to the community, a reality check of how fortunate I am, and a sense of gratefulness,” she said. “It’s rewarding simply because I put all my heart into it.”

Michelle Swaerdens, professor of the Community and Justice Services program, said their efforts began with a CJS Apprentice competition as an assignment for her course. The class was divided into groups and tasked with creating, organizing and participating in a fundraiser for Out of the Cold.

The students held a series of fundraisers throughout November including a barbecue/craft/bake sale at a 7-Eleven in Welland, a pasta night at Casa Dante in Welland, a pasta night at the Royal Canadian Legion in Ridgeway, and a carwash/tie dye shirt sale at a No Frills in St. Catharines.

“I am very proud of how well our students represented our program and Niagara College,” she said. “We appreciate the support of Niagara College and our local business that helped make our events successful.”

Professor and CJS program coordinator Terry Holub noted that in 2011, CJS program faculty members felt it was important that students who are involved in justice-related programs to reflect community justice by giving back to the community through volunteerism and charitable work.

“The students were encouraged to develop, organize, and implement events in the Niagara Region that would provide support to families who were struggling,” said Holub. “A decision was made collectively that the program would donate money to organizations who specifically fed men, women, and children who otherwise might not have the means to have a well-balanced meal.”

Last year, the CJS students donated their proceeds to the breakfast program which feeds breakfast to families 365 days a week. Holub said the intent for next year is to donate to a charity in Welland.

“We as a program are committed to the entire region and therefore we plan to support a variety of municipalities and a number of non-profit charitable programs,” he said.

Welland mayor Barry Sharpe poses with NC students at an Out of the Cold fundraiser in November.

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