Students from Hobart and William Smith Colleges and Hillside Children’s Center will team up to work and play as part of the third and final Day of Service for the 2010-2011 school year on Saturday, April 16.
“College students are more knowledgeable about the types of activities that youth are interested in, the music they listen to, and can often times be great role models” shared Heather VanDyne, the Volunteer Coordinator at Hillside, who is excited about the influence that the group’s efforts will have on the center’s youth. “When adults say to a youth that college is important it is received much differently than when a college-age student is giving the same advice!”
Thirty students from the Colleges will be traveling to the Varick campus in Seneca County to work with the group’s recreation therapist and recreation staff to redefine the center’s kickball/softball field, create a bordered bike area and repair the school’s bikes. They will wrap up the day with a kickball match between both groups of students. Recreation therapy is one part of the wellness plan for the youth at the center who benefit from the energy and emotional outlet it provides.
This is an exciting new partnership for the Colleges, says Celeste Smith ’12, chair of the Day of Service planning committee. “We are always looking for new sites and organizations to connect with. By reaching out to new organizations, the Colleges ensure students have the opportunity to work with new places in our community and that the greatest amount of people and organizations benefit from the Colleges’ outreach.”
“The greatest part about working with a college group is the diversity of skills, interests, and lifestyles that are all in one place,” says VanDyne.
In teaming up with the center, Smith hopes that the HWS volunteers “will come away with an appreciation for the Hillside students and a new perspective on the struggles they have endured.” In addition, she hopes that some of the students “will decide to return to Hillside regularly as they are always looking for more volunteers that are college age.”
Day of Service, a tradition at HWS for nearly 20 years, is held several Saturdays throughout the academic year to allow HWS students to show their commitment to community engagement. During each of these Saturdays, members of the Colleges and Geneva communities come together for the purpose of giving back to the Greater Geneva community. The events strive not only improve the community but create sustained relationships between community members. Other sites that individuals will be able to volunteer at include the Women’s Interfaith Institute, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Granger Homestead, the Carriage Museum, the Geneva Community Center, Rose Hill Mansion, Finger Lakes Youth Sports Challenger Division, and the Geneva Theatre Guild. Volunteers will also be working at the Spring Bike Tune Up event that will be held at the Geneva Bike Shop and a Safety Event for children grades K-6 where they will be taught safety lessons and have the chance to participate in a bike race with the Geneva Police Department.
Hillside Children’s Center is a service affiliate of the Hillside Family of Agencies, one of the largest non-profit agencies in New York State. The organization has been a part of the Upstate community for more than 170 years. Hillside Children’s Center was originally founded as an orphanage in 1839 by the Rochester Female Association for the Relief of Orphans and Destitute Children. Today, it is part of a network that provides more than 120 services to children and families at more than 40 different locations. Hillside’s Varick Campus provides diagnostic and short term residential services, critical care, developmental abilities services, specialized services for youth and special education services for youth ages 12-18. Hillside Family of Agencies has placed building better futures with children and families at the core of their mission.