Super Saturday: ‘food for soul’

Jill Byerly

Super Service Saturdays may be a tongue twister, but the Center for Student Involvement is using them to build a bridge between Kent State and the City of Kent.

Every other Saturday, including tomorrow, student volunteers visit three to four sites within the community and each require different types of service.

“We go out on Saturday mornings and do anything from visiting Hattie Larlham, building a home for Habitat for Humanity, visiting senior citizens, taking children to concerts and everything in between,” said Ann Goskey, associate director for the Center for Student Involvement.

On Service Saturdays, the group leaves between 8 and 9:30 a.m. Transportation is provided to and from the sites.

“Changing sites each week gives the students an opportunity to identify what they’re passionate about, such as walking dogs for the ACL, or building a home,” Goskey said.

Matt Haramis , Americorps*VISTA worker, and Kent State alumnus assists in organizing the events, along with Goskey. He said one Saturday was particularly memorable.

“Hattie Larlham contacted me, and they said they had a gentleman who was celebrating a birthday, and we sent three or four volunteers to help celebrate his birthday,” Haramis said. “It’s not just about hammering nails, it’s about being there and being a friend. For him, he had severe autism, and to have that kind of social interacting and recognition was a great thing.”

The program has been in action for one year now, during which Kent State students have completed 943 hours of community service, which is worth about $18,274 given to the community.

“That is basically if they were to hire people to do the kind of work we do, that is how much it would have cost the community,” Haramis said. “Considering it hasn’t even been a full year yet, that’s not even a full person’s salary. That was all done in eight days last semester and three days so far this semester.”

Haramis and Goskey said they believe Service Saturdays provide a great opportunity for students to connect with the community.

“Service is food for the soul, and once you do it, you want to do more of it,” she said. “Students become aware of the impact they can have as a whole. They can learn the sociology of the aging seniors in America in textbooks, but when you interact with them, it becomes real.”

The next two scheduled service days are tomorrow and April 28. Anyone interested should contact Haramis at [email protected].

Contact student affairs reporter Jill Byerly at [email protected].