Students voluntarily give back, UA participates in local non-profit organizations


Sara Syed

Volunteer organizations tabling at the Student Union on Wednesday, Feb. 11

By Sara Syed, News Writer

ServeAkron hosted its annual Spring Volunteer Fair Wednesday, Feb. 11, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Student Union, where interested students learned about many opportunities to volunteer.

Volunteer opportunities ranged from food donation centers to building houses for the less fortunate to engaging in activities for children with special needs.

Mackenzie Jones, representative for ServeAkron, said that the purpose of the volunteer fair was to engage students, increase involvement, and provide opportunities.

One of the featured organizations at the event was the Akron Rotary Camp for Children with Special Needs. This camp is in need of volunteers to work year-round, as well as during the summertime for their summer camp.

“Anytime you do good for a kid, you do good for the world,” said Lauren McIntosh, representative for Akron Rotary Camp for Children with Special Needs.

Akron Rotary Camp is having an open house this Saturday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. where interested students can tour its new facilities and learn more about volunteering.

McIntosh said that working with special-needs individuals is something that anyone from any major can participate in.

J.D. Detshch, another representative of the organization, said that it is a place where people can “change lives while having fun.”

Another organization at the event was Good Neighbors Food Center. It currently donates around 1,100 free meals each month along with linens, back-to-school supplies, small household items and holiday gifts to families-in-need.

Good Neighbors works with UA’s Nutrition Department to create the most nutritious meals for the families.  Good Neighbors appreciates any donations—clothes, food, or time—to their facility nearby in Goodyear Heights.

RePlay for Kids was another volunteer group at the event seeking assistance. RePlay for Kids is a unique organization that takes electronic toys and modifies them so that children with special needs can enjoy them, despite their disabilities.

McIntosh said that a lot of the organizations work together to help out the community.  For example, families of the children from the special needs camp sometimes get food donations from the food banks, their families are sometimes housed through Habitat for Humanity, and they get toys for the kids from RePlay for Kids.

There were more than ten organizations at the volunteer fair, including Habitat for Humanity, Akron Marathon Rubber City Race Series, Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, and more.

The fair also reminded students that, though they may be busy with their careers and school, they may forget that it is important to take time to give back to people in need. Volunteering can be as simple as donating a nutritious can of food or as personal as being a leader in a summer camp for children with special needs.

If students would like to find a list of volunteer opportunities, they can log onto OrgSync and search for ServeAkron where a form to RSVP for events is available.