‘Parents’ invited to adopt dormitory mods at Tabor College

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN LAURA CAMPBELL
In recent years, about half of the Tabor students living on campus have enjoyed a home away from home through the college’s Adopt-A-Mod program.

Program coordinator Kaylene Unruh hopes even more can have that experience this year, through Hillsboro residents offering their homes and themselves to students by signing up to be “mod parents.”

“We can really use more (parents),” Unruh said.

“Some students really appreciate that contact and even ask for it, and sometimes we just have to tell them that we don’t have any more people that are willing to do that.”

Each individual or couple who joins the program is assigned a module of four to eight students in the residence halls, Unruh said.

Sometimes a student puts in a request for a resident that he or she knows and wants to have as a mod parent, or vice versa.

“Often we get requests that (parents) want a certain person’s mod,” Unruh said. “If they don’t, they can request male or female and we’ll just match them up.”

The job description for being a parent to these students throughout the school year is pretty flexible, she said.

“It’s really up to the mod parents which direction they want to go and how much they want to do,” Unruh said.

“Some of the things we suggest are an invitation to church, a meal in your home or (joining) them in the cafeteria.”

Parents could also drop off goodies at the mod, send students a card or gift on their birthdays, have them over to do “homey activities” like bake cookies together or offer their facilities for students to do laundry, Unruh said.

She said students from out-of-state especially appreciate being able to enjoy a “home atmosphere” even when they can’t make the long trip home.

“Students can feel like they have somebody they can call ‘Mom’ when they’re far, far away from home,” Unruh said.

Seven-year mod parent Colleen Ball said she and husband Mike have enjoyed keeping in touch with the students they’ve parented, both while the students are still at Tabor and after they’ve graduated.

“The last few years we’ve (parented) juniors and seniors because we’ve kind of followed the kids along,” she said.

“Then we had an alumni soup supper, and there were like 44 guys on campus that we’d adopted at one point,” she added.

“So that was fun.”

Ball encouraged first-time parents to be patient when planning activities for busy students.

“My advice would be, don’t give up if you plan one activity and people don’t come,” she said.

“Just gently keep in touch.”

Ball said she has found that where students are concerned, food is key to successful parenting.

“I try to bake goodies for them for their birthdays,” Ball said. “We always have a steak dinner at the end of the year at our house, and we have them over for dinner three or four times a year.”

Steve Greenhaw agreed that for him and wife Lou, whose son Carson is a senior at Tabor this year, feeding students has been their main job as mod parents over the last five years.

“It generally just revolves around eating,” he said. “We’ll have them over to eat sometimes, take food to them at different times-that’s basically what we do.

“Food seems to satisfy them anytime,” he added.

Greenhaw advised that students tend to respond better to organized events than to blanket invitations.

“We have invited them just to come over sometime and kind of chill out,” he said. “But generally they don’t do that unless they’re specifically invited.”

But taking that extra step to welcome other students into their home is the least Greenhaw and his wife can do for an institution they so strongly believe in, he said.

“We are supporters of Tabor College-we think it’s an excellent school,” he said. “We are pleased that our son’s going there.

“We just want to be supportive of the students, let them know that the community around here supports them,” he added.

“We try to make them feel as welcome as we can.”

And just a little time and effort goes a long way in helping students feel at home, Greenhaw said.

“It isn’t real time-consuming,” he said. “You don’t have to do something all the time, just maybe a couple times during the semester to kind of do something special.

“I think it’s rewarding for both.”

For more information or to sign up to be a mod parent, contact Kaylene Unruh at 947-3766, ext. 1033.

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