UW-Parkside’s Callahan Scholars Build Beds for Kids

Published: March 14, 2024

Callahan scholars Maddie Lallo (Left) and Judea Mahboub (Right) help build beds for kids.Kenosha Wis.- Being part of the community and volunteerism are some of the core tenets of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside’s Callahan Scholars. In that spirit, 10 of UW-Parkside’s Callahan Scholars volunteered to build beds for kids through Sleep in Heavenly Peace’s Racine/Kenosha chapter. 

In collaboration with Sleep in Heavenly Peace, the Callahan Scholars volunteered to help build beds for children in need. The students contributed with hands-on work including sanding, sawing, drilling, and painting all wood material for the beds.

Judea Mahboub, a freshman from Kenosha majoring in psychology, learned the importance of volunteering and giving back to those who are less fortunate. “My favorite part of the project was getting to see everyone come together and work to make beds for others,” Judea explains. He believes that being a Callahan Scholar means being involved and giving back within the community.

UW-Parkside’s Callahan Scholars program coordinates support services, provides financial assistance, and fosters community and a sense of belonging to help students with high financial needs with the ultimate goal of graduation. Callahan Scholars must be graduates of a Kenosha County high school. Callahan Scholar students receive $5,000 in scholarships annually for up to four years, a value of $20,000 per student. Forty scholarships are available, with 10 specifically designated for new freshmen.

Callahan Scholars are also encouraged to be part of the community. They gain valuable leadership and teamwork skills by getting involved on campus and serving in the community including participating in local clean-ups and volunteer service. They are encouraged to live on campus where they will continue to get involved in the campus community through the benefits Housing and Residence Life provides and to participate in hands-on learning experiences.

Victor Vargas, a sophomore music major from Kenosha, learned about the power of collaboration and coordination. “I learned about how efficient a workshop can be when everyone has a specific role,” he said. Vargas believes that being a Callahan Scholar means staying active in your community and using your abilities to help others.

Alexis Kleihauer is a psychology major and studio art minor from Salem, Wisconsin. Alexis learned that helping others is a collaborative effort and seeing others volunteer their time and resources made her believe that there are good people in the world. Alexis is grateful for the opportunity to gain these experiences as well. “Being a Callahan Scholar has brought many opportunities to the forefront for me. From volunteer opportunities to pumpkin patch field trips, the program has so much to offer,” she explains.

As part of the program, students have their own personal Success Coach throughout their time at UW-Parkside. A Success Coach is a “go-to” person to help students navigate high school to college through graduation. Cassy Villegas is the Success Coach for Callahan Scholars and established the partnership.

Kleihauer credits Villegas and the Callahan Scholars program for challenging her and empowering her to succeed academically as well. “The requirements provide motivation and keep me on the straight and narrow. With the exception of 2 B’s I have been a straight A student. I’ve faced many challenges and obstacles so far in my nearly two years at UW-Parkside and my Callahan advisor, Cassy, has been there through nearly all of it. She has pushed me, encouraged me, and has also talked me off many metaphorical ledges.”

Villegas explains that this volunteer opportunity allowed the students to give back to the community and consider things from a different perspective. “This project gave the students the opportunity to make a good contribution to their community by helping those in need and also made them reflect on the things they should feel grateful for that sometimes we humans take for granted, such as a bed and other basic necessities,” she says.

The collaboration was also beneficial to Sleep in Heavenly Peace’s mission to serve the community and provide for those in need. “It has a great impact in providing the child with a comfortable and safe place to rest for them to have better living conditions,” Villegas says.

For the Callahan Scholars, the opportunity allowed them to learn the power of collaboration and gave them a sense of accomplishment knowing that they made a difference in the lives of others. Villegas praises the students' work ethic and enthusiasm. “We worked there for a total of five hours, so students were tired by the end of it and it made them be grateful to have the things and opportunities that they do, while also feeling awesome in being able to help other human beings and accomplishing something great as a team. The students were very positive throughout the experience and enjoyed learning how to do the work and engaging with the rest of the volunteers there,” Villegas recounts.

Kleihauer asserts that the Callahan Scholars program was not only instrumental in being able to continue her education but has also provided invaluable personal growth and networking opportunities. “The scholarship itself has made going to school possible in the first place. I am an independent student and I don’t make enough to put myself through school. I rely solely on financial aid and scholarships in order to succeed. The Callahan Family is the gift the keeps on giving. Not only am I financially taken care of, but the experiences and the connections will be mine forever,” she says. 

To learn more about the Callahan Scholars program, please visit https://www.uwp.edu/live/offices/financialaid/parksidescholarsprogram.cfm.

The University of Wisconsin-Parkside is committed to high-quality educational programs, creative and scholarly activities, and services responsive to its diverse student population, and its local, national, and global communities. We are a dynamic learning community grounded in academic excellence and focused on student success, diversity, inclusion, and community engagement. The campus serves as a premier comprehensive public institution and a destination of choice, serving as a focal point of local, regional, and global progress.

Media contact:

Derek Fye
Communications Manager
University of Wisconsin-Parkside
Fye@uwp.edu | (262) 771-5419


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