Students pictured (sitting) include from left: Ian Kjiersdam, Paula Lancaster, Melanie Walker, Jamie-Lynn Gillingham, Steve Brettell, and Kristen Polegato. Pictured standing from left: Gina Couldry, food security coodinator, The Hope Centre; Pam Swick Janjac, development officer, Open Arms Mission; Caitlin Battista, marketing/event coordinator, Open Arms Mission.
What happens when a group of creative students from the School of Community Studies combine their desire to make a difference with hundreds of boxes of macaroni and cheese?
On March 24, students, faculty and guests cheered on NC’s Domino Derby club in the Applied Health Institute auditorium as hundreds of strategically placed macaroni and cheese boxes systematically toppled down the stairs, over to the stage, up and down a ramp, until the last ‘domino’ finally dove into a box bound for a local food bank below.
The spectacle was organized by NC’s Domino Derby club – a SAC-sanctioned club that launched last fall. The initiative was spearheaded by first-year Recreation and Leisure Therapy student Jamie-Lynn Gillingham, who is currently president of the Domino Derby. She was inspired to start the club in an effort to reach out to the community, recalling the success of a similar events she attended at a local high school.
“We are having a challenging time in our community stocking the food banks and trying to keep them stocked. That’s why I initiated the Domino Derby with Niagara College because I thought it would be an innovative and creative way to stock the food shelves at the bank.”
There were about a dozen students involved, all in their first-year of either the Recreation Therapy or Recreation and Leisure programs, supported by faculty member Carol Phillips. Gillingham noted that the Domino Derby club was a natural fit with her program which incorporates community involvement.
“Rec and Leisure is fun; that’s just what we do,” she said. “We just want to be able to help our community.”
The group began collecting boxes in October 2013 – which were stored in Gillingham’s guest bedroom during the winter – and continued to add to their stockpile until the day of the event. Representatives from Open Arms Mission attended Domino Derby to collect the donations. Some of the boxes were bound for Niagara College’s SAC food bank.
While several sketches of the domino pattern had been drawn up on paper prior to the event, Gillingham noted that it was the first time the club attempted to put it into action. To her, it wasn’t about whether or not there were a few glitches along the way.
“The bottom line is we did become a sanctioned club and ultimately our goal will be fulfilled: and that is to stock the local food bank shelves,” she said. “It’s about helping and serving our community.”