Volunteering in Canton and the surrounding communities proves to be a rewarding way to break out of the “Malone bubble.”
Canton is full of many non-profit organizations. Through the Gen Ed Community Based Cross-Cultural Experience class, Malone has sent students to Pegasus Farms in Hartville, Refuge of Hope, The Total Living Center, Canton Calvary Mission, Hammer and Nails and Hartland Behavioral Health.
Professor of social work Dr. Hoyt-Oliver said, “When the faculty developed the general education program, probably seven years ago, we really felt it was important for students to move away from just their own understanding of the world.”
After the class is over, some students decide to continue doing volunteer work.
“I hear every semester of students who continue to do that,” Hoyt-Oliver said. “I have a student, I’m teaching a GEN460 class right now, who came in and said, ‘A couple of years ago you assigned me to this place, and I’ve continued to go and it’s actually changed how I am planning to work.’…That’s always exciting for me.”
Ashley Futty, a senior communication arts major, became involved with Canton Calvary Mission through her Community Based Cross-Cultural class. She enjoyed the experience so much that she continued to go, even when the class was over.
“I learned a lot about Canton, especially downtown Canton,” Futty said. “The poverty that’s there, I didn’t realize it before.”
Futty especially enjoyed the relationships she formed with the kids when volunteering at Canton Calvary Mission.
“I would say every student should do some form of volunteerism,” Futty said. “You don’t know the kind of impact you could have.”
Volunteering is also one of the first things freshmen do for College Experience through “Into the Streets”.
Kaitlyn Justice, a junior early childhood and intervention specialist major, is a CA for section 2 and accompanied a group of freshmen to volunteer in Stark Parks.
“I think it’s included to show students that college is more than just living in a college bubble for four years,” Justice said. “I think it’s more about reaching out to the community and showing how you can be a servant of God and a college student.”
Into the Streets wasn’t Justice’s first experience volunteering.
“I have helped out with Lighthouse Ministries,” Justice said. “What I did there was clean their facility and I did some activities with the children. They partner with Belden Elementary for after-school programs and help them with their homework. It provides them with somewhere to go, so they are not getting into trouble.”
Jared Landis, a freshman computer science major, was introduced to volunteering through “Into the Streets.” He went with a group to the Salvation Army and helped sort food there.
“I liked volunteering. I felt like I did something,” Landis said.
Some students, like Landis, are introduced to volunteering through the volunteer opportunities that Malone encourages. Other students, such as Stephanie Lawrence, a junior youth educational ministry major, have been volunteering for a long time. Lawrence has been volunteering for Tiqvah– Hands of Hope for six years after hearing about it while on a mission trip.
“Sarah Kropf is the director and she is about ministering to student’s body, mind, and soul,” Lawrence said.
While volunteering, Lawrence teaches the kids dancing and tutors them.
“Because most of the kids come from low-income families, it’s a nice reminder that there is so much more going on in the world than just in my bubble of a life,” Lawrence said. “Even an hour of time is huge.”