By Jenelle Franklin
Students, staff and faculty had a two hour window on Wed. Sept. 21, to gather information on how to volunteer in their communities. 34 organizations lined the walls of the Student Center’s first floor offering pamphlets, freebies and community support.
Of the organizations who participated VIP Mentoring, Growing Hope, and The Salvation Army’s representatives relayed the importance of contributing and getting involved in the community students live and work in.
Roger Waldon II, VIP Mentoring match specialist started as a volunteer and is now a full time employee. VIP Mentoring serves children in Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties, Waldon said.
“I match children with one or two incarcerated parents to a caring adult who can help them during this difficult time in their lives,” Waldon said. He sees potential on WCC’s campus for many caring mentors and hopes students see their potential too.
Michael Anthony, volunteer manager at Growing Hope, a community health, gardening and nutrition based organization said growing hope installs gardening boxes for community and private use.
“We are an urban farm in Ypsilanti. The best part is that our farm is hidden from the road. People will come to their first volunteer session and be so surprised it’s here.
Outside of their own location at 922 W. Michigan Ave. Growing Hope is spread throughout Ypsilanti.
“We installed the boxes for Cultivate Coffee & Taphouse,” Anthony said. Volunteers can sign up to schedule their time around work and school with so many options from clerical work to gardening; “no prior farming experience necessary,” Anthony said.
Darlene Howard, Salvation Army volunteer coordinator, was born in a Salvation Army hospital, “I have been apart of this all my life, and it extends way past me, I am proud to be the fifth generation of my family to participate.”
“We are here to help with basic daily needs, without discrimination towards anyone who walks through our door for help,” Howard said.
All monies raised in Washtenaw county stays in Washtenaw county to help with broad array of services for veterans needs, daily and disaster needs, extending to the fight against human trafficking.
Volunteers are seen as “our helping hands,” Howard said; there is a simple application and a background check for volunteers to join and the flexible scheduling system accommodates volunteers.