Miami University volunteers to help out at Serve City, Chrysalis, Upward Bound and more

ServeOhio Day encourages and promotes hands-on volunteer engagement while school is out for the summer.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Miami University Regionals Hamilton will help a few local organizations this weekend as part ServeOhio Day.

ServeOhio is the governor-appointed commission on service and volunteerism, and they granted funds to support 22 local ServeOhio Day projects taking place on or around June 24. ServeOhio Day encourages and promotes hands-on volunteer engagement while school is out for the summer. The grants ServeOhio is providing will fund service projects in eleven Ohio cities led by more than 500 volunteers.

Miami University Hamilton will have more than 125 volunteers for an intergenerational volunteer day, where volunteers will help out Serve City, a homeless shelter and food pantry on East Avenue, helping Chrysalis Community Development Agency relocate to a nearby church, and with the partnership of Hamilton High School’s Upward Bound, they will help Pyramid Hill clean up its grounds.

This is the second ServeOhio grant helping the Hamilton community this year. In April, for Global Youth Service Day, Envision Partnerships, along with Go Green Hamilton and the Healthy Hamilton Coalition, received a ServeOhio grant to help get the Pollinator Gardens started for the season and added a couple of new amenities.

Collette Loskoch Thompson, Miami University’s regional director of the Center for Social Impact, said they are pulling students who serve as change agents in the school’s Service+ summer cohort for the day of service.

“These students are already volunteering 100 hours over the summer at nonprofits in Butler County,” she said. “The collaboration with the Upward Bound program at Hamilton High School makes this event extra special as it is focused on youth engagement.”

Additionally, Thompson said “these young people will learn about why the services provided by our day-of service host sites are so important for the community.”

William Hall, executive director for ServeOhio, said these statewide service projects are intentionally taking place on or near the summer solstice, when there will be the longest period of daylight, in an effort to maximize participation.

Each year, I continue to be impressed with Ohioans’ dedication to and passion for service and bettering their communities ― from building new community gardens to cleaning up local schools and parks in low-income areas,” Hall said.

Serve City Executive Director Tammi Ector said it’s exciting to partner with the Miami University volunteers, but while they had to pause on one project as they’re awaiting building permits for an awning project, the agency and volunteers will pivot. Students will now paint benches in that space and freshen up the garden beds at Serve City’s Move Forward Transitional Housing Apartments.

If enough volunteers are available, they may be doing some work in agency’s Choices Food Pantry.

“All of these volunteer activities go a long way to restoring the dignity of our neighbors experiencing homelessness,” Ector said. “Serve City appreciates Miami’s willingness to step up and make a positive impact.”

The Chrysalis Community Development Agency on Main Street will also feel that impact. Executive Director Vanessa McQueen said her nonprofit agency that serves Butler County families with diapers and other products, like wipes, clothing, and supplies, will be relocating most of the operations to the Sanctuary Covenant Christian Fellowship, 117 Park Ave. It’s the location they operated when they first opened several years ago.

“We won’t actually move until September, but they’ve offered to help us to get the bulk of our moving done,” McQueen said, adding winter clothing, shelving units, office items and some products will be part of the move.

The money saved in the rent from 110 Main St. will be reinvested in improvements at the church, where her husband Frederick is the senior pastor, and the operations for Chrysalis.

About the Author