The Community Service Learning Center (CSLC) at Grand Valley State University is currently holding a series of events called Days of Community Action where students have the opportunity to volunteer at local organizations.
The next event will be held at the As You Are (AYA) Youth Collective on Feb. 26. Students will meet in the Kirkhof Center and take a bus to the AYA Youth Collective.
The AYA Youth Collective is a local resource center for young adults ages 14 through 24 facing homelessness.
The organization offers a variety of resources including basic hygiene items, meals, access to electronic services and transitory housing.
According to their website, in addition to providing these services to underserved youths, they place an emphasis on building relationships to help those in need find a sense of stability in their community.
As part of Days of Community Action, the CSLC is planning to send GVSU students to help the AYA with cleaning and administrative needs.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some organizations have not been able to accept as many volunteers as in the past, and some have not been able to accept any volunteers at all.
These limitations as well as concerns from students about being in spaces with a large number of people, has led the CSLC to experience a reduction in the opportunities they once had in providing these community service programs.
However, graduate assistant for civic engagement at the GVSU Office of Student Life, Giavonna Ward, said with smaller group sizes the program is thriving once more.
“These Days of Community Action is a program that we had done a few years back, prior to COVID-19, and we decided to bring them back,” Ward said. “The whole goal is that it’s smaller groups, it’s typically only about 10 to 12 students.”
With these smaller group sizes, the CSLC is hoping that it will allow them to continue hosting community service events while providing a safer environment for the volunteers and organizations that they serve.
Looking forward, the CSLC is hoping to bring back the larger events they were able to hold in previous years if case numbers drop to a stable level.
Ward said she hopes to see more student involvement in community service in the future.
“We are always trying to get students more involved in our events, and we also try to encourage them to do things on their own or with student organizations,” Ward said. “Being a resource for whatever makes sense for students and how they want to serve their community.”
Students who’re interested in attending the event at AYA Youth Collective are asked to RSVP on LakerLink.