McIntyre helps out at Heifer Ranch

Summer break provides a myriad of opportunities for college students. Some continue to attend classes, while others return home to work or simply relax.

But Joshua McIntyre of Cabot, a senior dietetics major at Henderson State University, spent the past summer helping educate people about hunger, poverty, and the environment.

He volunteered at the Heifer International Ranch, leading visitors through a variety of educational activities. “I volunteered because it was an opportunity to do work that is meaningful that would also give me valuable new experiences and perspectives,” McIntyre said. “Heifer was an organization that I was familiar with and had a great deal of respect for.”

Heifer Ranch is a 1,200-acre educational farm in rural Perryville, Ark., filled with gardens and livestock. The ranch offers hands-on, interactive programs and activities promoting sustainable solutions to global hunger, poverty and environmental decline.

McIntyre said the ranch also has a global village where visitors stay overnight to experience what living conditions in a developing country might be like.

“I learned that even though we may feel very disconnected from the greater problems in the world around us, there are actions that every one of us could take to address them,” he said. “Small changes, if made by enough people, could make a big difference.”

McIntyre learned about the volunteer opportunity from Penny Whelchel, assistant professor of family and consumer sciences and director for dietetics specialization at Henderson.

“The Heifer International summer program was a great fit for Josh,” Whelchel said. “I am always impressed by his natural curiosity and his desire to better understand the world around him, how things work, and how everything is connected.”

Whelchel said spending the summer at Heifer Ranch helped to broaden McIntyre’s worldview and gave him a clearer idea of actions he can take to make a positive impact on human health and the environment.

“One such action has been sharing his experience with others in order to increase awareness of global issues related to hunger and poverty,” she said. “I learned a great deal hearing him speak at a conference this fall.”