Alpha Phi Sigma Honor Society Wins First Place in National Community Service Competition

The Alpha Phi Sigma Epsilon chapter, a criminal justice and police studies honor society at Eastern Kentucky University, has earned first place in a national community service competition for the second consecutive year.

The EKU chapter’s winning project involved raising funds to buy Christmas presents for the women and the children at the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Center in Lexington, and throwing a Christmas party for them.

Five student members of the chapter were on hand at the APS national conference in Dallas, Texas, to accept the award: Seth Henderson, Berea; Robyn Hench, Lexington; Anne Blair, Columbia, Mo.; Hoai Robinette, Elizabethtown; and Polina Karpova, Gainesville, Va. They were joined by Faculty Adviser Dr. James Wells.

Karpova and Henderson also won individual awards. Karpova took first place in the graduate student criminal justice knowledge, earning a $500 scholarship. Henderson received a $250 scholarship from APS for the second consecutive year.

Students from the Alpha Phi Sigma Criminal Justice Honor Society, Golden Key International Honor Society, the Criminal Justice Graduate Student Association and the Community Relations Board (CRB) joined the staff and women inmates at the Federal Medical Center (Federal Bureau of Prisons facility in Lexington) to host the Christmas party for the women and children at the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Shelter on Dec. 5.

Wells, a member of the CRB at FMC, learned that the CRB provided funding and supplies so that the women inmates can make items for distribution throughout the community and thought a Christmas community service project at the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Shelter would be an innovative way to team the student organizations, the CRB and FMC inmates in celebrating Christmas.

“Many of these women and children at the shelter had to suddenly flee a dangerous situation with just the clothes on their back,” Wells said. “I suspect these women here were not anticipating having a good holiday season or being able to provide their children with a very nice Christmas this year. Perhaps the event cheered all of them up and gave them hope for the New Year.”

The CRB provided the supplies so that the women inmates could make multi-colored quilts, lap blankets, tote bags, house shoes and small crocheted stuffed toys. The women inmates made the items on their own free time, and the three student organizations pooled their resources so that each woman and child received a personalized bag of several wrapped gifts and candy. In addition, the students were able to purchase a large screen television, Wii console and game for the shelter, as well as provide cake and punch for all in attendance.

“Sad to say, domestic violence has touched the lives of many Kentucky families, including those of some of our students,” Wells said. “I think it is great that many of our students at Eastern are eager to get involved in this particular community service project and to make a difference. These students worked very hard in making this a memorable Christmas for the women, children and staff in the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program. As well, since many of the women inmates at FMC may have been victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives, I thought this service project would have special meaning for them.”

Published on March 27, 2013