College students in Georgia give translation services for Salvation Army Angel Tree applicants

By: Jordan Beach

What started as a mandatory assignment for Spanish class at Reinhardt University in Walska, Georgia, turned into a heart-warming experience assisting the community.

Dr. Jennifer Summey requires her intermediate Spanish course to complete a service learning project; this semester it was spending time with Hispanic families at the Canton, Georgia, Salvation Army, assisting in translating for those participating in the Angel Tree Christmas gifting program.

Senior business administration major Abby Cantaño realized how easy it can be to be involved in helping her community. Although she holds experience in similar projects, this was her first time translating.

“I knew it was a need, but I didn’t realize how common this need is,” Cantaño said. “This project opened my eyes to the fact that I can fill a need just by having a conversation with a person in their own language.”

Summey’s students had the option to complete an alternate assignment on campus, but Cantaño, along with Marianna Herrera, Ana Bezerra, Tony Herrington, Augie Oberkrom, Kelly Kipfer, Tripp Wickard, Ethan Hayes, Trace Shaw, Parker Rinehart and alumna Chloe Laveing (Class of 2017) took part.

“I was nervous when I first arrived, as I wasn’t quite sure if I would be able to translate what was needed of me, but once I was there and began talking with the families, things began to flow like a regular conversation,” said Cantaño.

Cantaño said the families were patient with their translating and expressed their gratitude for The Salvation Army.

“This was such a beautiful experience and I feel so blessed to have been a part of it. I am looking forward to being involved in more projects to help the wonderful families in the community.”

Summey’s service learning project is just one way Reinhardt connects its campus to the surrounding community, and is a part of Reinhardt’s “Where in the World RU Going?” program.