Many volunteer opportunities available both on and off campus

Jessica Renner

Options range from local community work to a week-long trip to rebuild the Gulf Coast

Whether students have volunteered in the past or are just looking to start something new, there are several opportunities to do so on campus and in the surrounding community.

Megan Odell-Scott, a VISTA Community Service Leader for Kent State, said there are numerous options for volunteers and the experiences gained by volunteering are invaluable. She said students can meet new people and feel as though they have had an impact on something bigger.

“Volunteering is a great way to meet people like you,” Odell-Scott said. “You are getting involved and making the world a better place.”

Odell-Scott said students can choose from many programs to volunteer, and they may also volunteer individually.

If students wish to become involved with volunteer opportunities on campus or otherwise, they can contact Odell-Scott at [email protected] or (330) 672-8010.

On-campus programs

&bull Super Service Saturdays: these are days when students come together to volunteer in the local community and help out where needed. The services change from one service day to the next.

&bull Make a Difference Day: Make a Difference Day, which runs from Oct. 21 to 25, is the most popular volunteer program run through the campus. Students work on campus and in the surrounding community to volunteer wherever needed.

&bull Spring Break Trip: a weeklong trip to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to help rebuild damage from Hurricane Katrina. This year it will be from March 21 to 28. Students have to pay to go on the trip, but extensive fundraising helps reduce the cost.

&bull Weekend Trips: Students who are unable to dedicate their spring break to volunteering but still want to go on some sort of trip can take advantage of service trips to the Appalachian and Cleveland areas. These trips happen every so often during the semester.

&bull King Kennedy Center: This center, created by Kent State students in the late 1970s, is located in Ravenna. According to its Web site, it is dedicated to programs designed to meet the needs of the underprivileged in Portage County. Students may volunteer to be a mentor for a younger person, or they can help out with one of the center’s many other programs.

Off-campus opportunities

&bull Townhall II: This organization offers many ways to volunteer. For example, Townhall II runs a 24/7 Helpline where volunteers help callers get through emotional crises and get to basic needs.

The organization also offers Crime Victim Advocacy, where volunteers help victims of rape, sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence and other violent crimes.

Many other volunteer opportunities are listed on Townhall II’s Web site at

&bull Big Brothers and Sisters: Big Brothers and Sisters of Portage County sets up mentors with children. Each child is assigned to a mentor who may have similar interests. Volunteers can help their “little” with homework, teach them how to play catch or just watch a movie with them. These children generally just need a good influence and someone to look up to.

For more information, go to

&bull The Center of Hope and Christian Cupboard: This food bank, located in Ravenna, allows volunteers to help keep it running. For more information, contact the food bank at (330) 297-5454.

&bull The Lord’s Pantry: Run through Kent Social Services, this kitchen provides meals for community members who need it. For more information, contact the kitchen at (330) 673-6963.

Contact social services reporter Jessica Renner at [email protected].