William Woods University traces its roots to the Female Orphan School, established in 1870 for orphans of the Civil War. Now, 144 years later, a reminder of the past will come rolling onto campus in the form of a red British double-decker bus.
The bus-turned-thrift-store is coming to WWU April 8 to educate students about Show Hope’s Red Bus Project. Already thousands of students throughout the Southeast have tangibly acted to care for orphans through the project.
Students will have an opportunity to learn about the needs of orphans, sign up to get involved and even shop for clothes and donate to help provide families for waiting orphans around the world.
The Red Bus visit is sponsored by Project 123, a new service-based scholarship program that provides stipends for students to participate in Woods Around the World. This year, students visited Greece and Turkey during spring break. To earn the stipend, they had to complete 123 hours of community service.
So far, more than 177,000 students have been exposed to the Red Bus Project, and they have contributed nearly
$50,000 to help provide orphans with families through Show Hope™ adoption grants.
To continue this powerful mission of impacting students around the U.S., the Red Bus will visit 25 schools, including William Woods, during the spring tour.
The Red Bus Project is a student program started in 2012 by Show Hope, a nonprofit organization founded for the purpose of caring and advocating for millions of orphans worldwide.
The project’s mission is to unite and inspire students to help make a difference and speak up for the world’s orphans. It engages students in a variety of ways, from encouraging students to start their own Red Bus Project Advocate teams to shopping on the British double-decker-bus-turned rolling-thrift-store, to donating their gently used clothes to the project and beyond.
“Students really care about making a difference in the world,” said Chris Wheeler, Show Hope’s director of student initiatives, responsible for overseeing the Red Bus Project. “Sometimes they just need someone to point them in the right direction. The Red Bus Project is a way to lead students toward truly making a huge impact in the global orphan crisis through simple steps of action.”
The Red Bus Project is more than just a campus tour. A comprehensive engagement campaign ensures that students continue to be engaged in orphan care activities long after the tour leaves campus. This spring, the Red Bus Project will start several new activities in which students can further their involvement with the project.
“Our goal is not to just swoop on to a campus, have a fun event, then leave and never be heard from again,” said Wheeler. “We have a very intentional strategy in place to move students progressively toward deeper and deeper engagement in a lifestyle of orphan care. We are asking them ‘What is your Red Bus?’ – a metaphor for specific actions they will take to help the plight of the orphan.”
A key part of the engagement strategy has included starting 52 student-led Red Bus Project campus advocate teams that engage students at the campuses on an ongoing basis.
Advocate team leaders are trained and provided with tools and activities to engage the students on their campus in support of orphan care. More information is available at Facebook.com/redbusproject or RedBusProject.org.