Shenean Lynn Fall was only three weeks into her internship with IvyCares when she noticed a pattern in the Indianapolis campus food pantry.
“I was working the pantry when a student experiencing homelessness asked if we had something for him to put water in. He was asking for anything– a cup, a plastic bottle, a reusable bottle,” Fall said, recounting the first time a student requested a water bottle. “And, unfortunately, we didn’t.”
Fall said something to her superior but didn’t overthink the request. Then, that same week, at least three more students, Fall says, came into the pantry in search of water bottles.
“That’s when I was like, ‘OK, there is definitely a need here,’” Fall said.
Fall knows what it's like to be someone needing help but has nowhere to turn. As a recovering addict who has been clean for four years now, she’s ready to start helping people.
Her history is why she is pursuing her associate degree in human services with a focus on addiction studies from Ivy Tech Indianapolis.
“I used to be ashamed of my past and didn’t want people to know I went through a difficult time. But now, I’m ready to be there for people living in similar situations as I had been,” Fall said.
Fall says the students entering IvyCares are looking for all kinds of assistance. Most of the time, students are struggling to balance school and pay their bills. Often, some students have suddenly lost where they lay their heads at night and come in looking for information about nearby shelters.
IvyCares has a Community Resource binder that is full of assistance information and is always available to students. It has shelter information, housing assistance, and more.
Regarding the water bottle situation, Fall didn’t hesitate to step to the plate and take action on this apparent need.
The IvyCares intern decided to take new or gently used water bottles on a rolling basis. She set a box outside the IvyCares office in North Meridian Center (NMC) Room 414 and created a flier with a call-out for the reusable bottles. The bottle drive has run the entire fall semester.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Fall said.
For the first two weeks, not a single water bottle was placed in the box outside of NMC 414.
“Then all of a sudden, I came in one day, and there were like five or six water bottles sitting there, and I was like, ‘heck yeah!’” Fall exclaimed. “I posted a picture on Facebook; I was so excited!”
To date, Fall and IvyCares have gathered 125 reusable water bottles and re-homed 90 of them. If she can not find new homes for some of the water bottles at the end of her journey here at Ivy Tech, she plans to donate them to a local homeless shelter.
“I feel like the water bottle drive was a success!” Fall said. “As an intern, I can’t say if this initiative will continue after I graduate in the spring. But I will definitely advocate for it to continue.”
There will be a box outside NMC 414 for people to donate their new or gently used water bottles to our students in need throughout the rest of the semester.
Learn more about IvyCares at ivytech.edu/student-services/support-services/ivycares/.
About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.