By Jenelle Franklin
New to campus, but passionately driven, Washtenaw Community Outreach Club is reaching out to students on campus to support their introductory mission, to help end local hunger.
Heather Duval, club president, is taking her first opportunity to reach into the community after founding the official school club last month.
“This is our fourth meeting,” Duval said. “I am really into giving back to the community and I think a lot of students on campus want to give back, but don’t know the means to do so. Our food drive here makes it easier for people to contribute.”
WCOC is sponsoring a food drive with Food Gatherers, a food warehouse based in Detroit, until Dec. 15.
“After we finish our first event, we will begin next semester with bake sale fundraisers, awareness nights, where there is a topic like the Flint water crisis and we will have someone come in and discuss the implications about what is going on, and how people can help solve that issue,” Duval said.
WCC’s food pantry also takes donations from students. This continuous food drive on campus may be the next prospective target for the club’s helping hands.
“We have a lot of resources on campus that students don’t know about, so we will be spreading the word about those sources,” Duval said.
“I like to volunteer and give back,” Teya Bond, club member and digital video production major, said.
“One thing I am really passionate about is helping my community, where I can walk and see people being helped. I like that it’s accessible to me, especially our local canned food drive,” Bond said.
“I went to Ann Arbor Public Schools and there are people that don’t know there are kids that need tutoring and can’t afford it,” Bond said, “I would like to reach out to help tutor low income kids in our (club’s) future.”
Duval has goals of lifelong servitude, striving to help underprivileged children in her hometown of Ann Arbor.
“My main goal is to either work for nonprofits or start my own non profit for minority youth,” Duval said.
“There is a program being started up by AAPS that focuses on kids who don’t have access to college accessibility awareness or preparation resources. I didn’t have that, and I know that many first generation college students don’t know about the application process and things like that,” Bond said.
Beyond the difficulties of paperwork, some first generation college students are missing out on perks like scholarships, Duval and Bond contended.
A trip with the group to offer advice and help students prepare for the transition into college life is an aspiration of Bond’s.
“I feel like I might go into working with younger kids or high school students,” Kamryn Auguste, global studies major said. Auguste will pursue French as a major in her next step towards being an interpreter or translator working with students.
Club meetings are an open forum of ideas where club members share ideas for events and ways to help the community.
“We brainstorm on the board and narrow it down to what will work the best,” Bond said. Everyone is included in conversation and invited to participate, she mentioned.
Duval takes her role as the club’s president seriously, making sure the members are engaged and gaining professional skills.
One way she has done this is through demonstrating solid technical writing procedures with sharing documents. She offers an outline for professional emails and structured note taking.
“I write up all of my notes and send them out so everyone knows how to take the meeting notes for the club. I want us to pick up on things you have to do in the real world as well,” Duval said, “So, here, you give back but you’re also gaining.”