As part of a collaborative effort between Hobart and William Smith Colleges, AmeriCorps and local organizations, HWS students will provide a historic 3,000 hours of service to non-profit agencies in Geneva this summer. Ten students, each of whom will work 300 hours this summer, will serve at a variety of local agencies such as the Rural Migrant Ministries, Boys and Girls Club of Geneva, Happiness House and the Smith Opera House.
“This opportunity is mutually beneficial to students and the community. It is an opportunity which allows students to start or build upon relationships they’ve built during the academic year with local non-profit agency leaders, while also furthering the capacity and outreach abilities of those agencies,” explains Director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning Katie Flowers.
Participants this year include: Jarrid Blades ’12, Michael Brown ’12, Katherine Burgos ’12, Karah Charrette ’14, Chelsea Encababian ’14, Rachel Hinnenkamp ’13, Jessica Lynn ’14, Christian Martinez ’13, Allauna Overstreet-Gibson ’14 and Megan Soule ’15.
“I wanted to blend my love of volunteerism and education, and work on the Geneva 2020 initiative with the Geneva School District. Additionally, this opportunity will provide me with a service-learning experience that will help me get into Syracuse University law school,” says Blades.
While many, like Blades, will embark on new projects, Charette chose to continue her work with disabled children through Happiness House, where she will work under the supervision of Christine Shultz.
“Having previously worked with disabled girls at a dance studio in my hometown, I have experience working with people who have an array of disabilities, and I believe it is a great learning experience in both acceptance and compassion,” explains Charette, a double major in biology and dance. “I hope to grow from this opportunity and allow it to shape who I become later on in life. I feel that it is important for me to give back to the Geneva community and I wanted to lend a hand, if only for a little while, to those who dedicate their lives to helping others every day.”
Some students hope to take the experience garnered through this opportunity and apply it to an international community.
“Next summer, I want to work with a non-profit in developing and getting schools running abroad,” says Soule, a double major in sociology and media and society, who will work this summer under the supervision of Robert Smith, assistant principal at Geneva High School. “My experience working in the Geneva School District will give me a substantial background to build upon.”
The other students will work with the Geneva Business Improvement District, the Rural & Migrant Ministry, Geneva Community Lakefront Playground, Montezuma Audubon Center and the Geneva Neighborhood Resource Center.
“I have a true appreciation for the outdoors and I feel so lucky that I am able to have an internship that allows me to help with protecting our very fragile environment and many of the species that live here,” says Hinnenkamp, who will work at the Montezuma Audubon Center.
This Hobart and William Smith initiative is part of the national movement called “Students in Service,” which began in 1997. It has as its goals “to foster civic engagement among higher education students, promote the National Service movement, and encourage positive relationships between campuses and communities.” The Hobart and William Smith students will join approximately 350 other college students from across the country.
The students’ housing and salary is paid by Geneva Partnership funding made possible by the Office of the President. In addition, the students will also receive a $1,100 AmeriCorps award which will be matched up to $1,000 by HWS if applied towards tuition. Hobart and William Smith Colleges are among only 92 colleges to match AmeriCorps awards.
The photo above features Jarrid Blades’12 working at Happiness House.