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ASB urban/suburban spent five days and a total of 28 hours volunteering. On Monday we worked at a place called the CAP center in Mamaroneck, NY. It’s a joint classroom and food pantry so we got a chance to work with kids in the classroom and also to help them organize their basement full of supplies. We spent Tuesday and Wednesday in NYC at the West Side Campaign Against Hunger, which is a really special food pantry because they have it set up like a grocery store: all the food is very organized on shelves and so the people in need come in on a certain day of the week and, as guided by a point system (determined by how many people need to be fed), they are able to actually shop for what they want. We thought this was so cool because it seemed to restore so much more dignity back into the idea of being handed out food. These people can come and select foods based on their individual needs and preferences. While we were there, we helped prepare the pantry for shopping day and then we helped on shopping day to keep things organized and running smoothly. The other awesome part about this food pantry is that there is a chef there who teaches daily cooking lessons. So, unemployed people can come and become certified cooks. Also, they use all the food from the pantry to have these cooking lessons. Afterwards, the volunteers get to enjoy the meal that has been prepared!

Thursday and Friday we spent time at the Sarah Neuman Center in Larchmont, NY. It’s a nursing home so we helped with the transportation of the elderly over the course of two days. On Friday we got to participate in a Shabbat service. My favorite part about this experience was how touched the people there were by our interest in their lives. After several hours there, we all began to notice the pervasive indifferent feelings of the staff, which is understandable: it’s so difficult to attune to each person’s needs when there are SO many people that need constant help (getting out of bed, getting into a wheel chair, being pushed to physical therapy or lunch, getting back into the bed, going to the bathroom, etc). So, assistance becomes so much like a routine, and often the individual needs and feelings of the residents become secondary. We felt then, more than ever, that our volunteer work was important because we were able to provide that personal touch that so many of these elderly people were missing in their lives. We listened and spoke with them and they really did appreciate it so much. There was one woman suffering from dementia and she kept repeating “but I have no friends…but what if no one likes me?” It was really sad and hard for us to hear but we all sat with her as a group and tried to comfort her and prove to her that we were her friends. I think it really made a difference in her day and that made us so very happy.

Cole I. Yaverbaum ’14

***SIGN UP FOR COLBY CARES DAY***

To do so, click HERE!

It is a great way to give back to the community. Here are some pictures from two years ago that show how enjoyable Colby Cares Day really is:

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Site Descriptions from 2012:

  • Alfond Youth Center – Camp Tracey: help with general trail and facility clean-up
  • Hart-to-Hart Farm: fence building, yard work, gardening,clear brush ~ Hockey Team
  • Barrels Community Market: organize shelves, store activities
  • Quarry Road – Best Buddies: board games, puzzles
  • Waterville Public Library: outdoor work doing gardening as well as indoor work organizing and sorting books/shelves
  • Children’s Center Augusta: raking, cleaning up brush, and other yard work ~ SPB
  • Goodwill Hinkley/LC Bates: outdoor projects, mostly grounds work (raking, sweeping, etc…)
  • Maine Children’s Home: yard work (rake, sweep) outside and wash windows inside Development
    building
  • Sunset Home: raking and sweeping in parking lot
  • United Way of Mid-Maine: dodgeball tournament, including sales of shirts and food, court assistants, and clean up
  • Hospice program: yard work
  • Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter: helping out and hanging out with residents
  • Hardy Girls Healthy Women: office work, clean up, mailings, etc.
  • Humane Society (Senior Site): spring cleanup
  • South End Association: bike repair and site cleanup
  • Kennebec Historical Society: indoor work like entering information in database and outdoor work such as clearing trails and lifting objects
  • Inland Hospital: helping to clear trails and do spring clean up at the trailhead
  • Pendragon Farm Cornville, ME: clean up paddocks, fix fences, transport water, and paint jumps ~ Equestrian Team
  • Goodwill Waterville: indoor work such as organizing the store (sizing, color-coding, etc.) and outdoor work (cleaning the back alley) ~ Swim Team
  • Messolanskee Trails: trail work ~ COC
  • Northeast Dreamcenter Area Distribution Center: sort food and clothes
  • Salvation Army: sorting and organizing inventory
  • Waterville Histoical Society/Reddington Museum: indoor and outdoor cleaning ~ Soccer Teams

This is the perfect occasion to give back to the greater Waterville community while working with your fellow students. This year, we have over 20 local sites ranging from the Homeless Shelter to the Hart-to-Hart farm that offer different volunteer opportunities.

***Sign up online:

https://docs.google.com/a/colby.edu/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dHFZU1RyTWowUEM1dHVVaEN6LS1HQUE6MQ

Schedule:

10am – Meet in the Foss Dining Hall

  • Please wear this year’s CVC t-shirt if you have one
  • *** We will have your lunches and T-Shirts for those who don’t have one already

10:30am – Leave for your site

3:00pm – Return to Colby



On March 7 at 5:30, the Best Buddies flocked into Dana for a great meal!  After swiping, they were all ready to adventure through the dining hall to find the best possible dinner.  The pizza was gone almost instantly!  Others grabbed penne pasta, roast beef, salad, and other delicious foods.  When everybody had their meals, we sat down in the Fairchild Room as a big group.  We decided to spruce the dinner up a little bit by playing BINGO!

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Everybody got a board  and started playing.  We had a few lucky winners who got to take home some new sunglasses, stylish beads, and more.  Everybody who did not win got peanut butter girl scout cookies.  So really everybody won!  We all had so much fun and cannot wait until our next event: BOWLING!


Best Buddies started off second semester in Dana for a great dinner! Fifteen students met up with their respective buddies and ate some delicious pizza, burgers, ravioli, fries, and, of course, ice cream in Dana’s Fairchild Room. We reintroduced ourselves with our name and our favorite cereal or breakfast food. Cinnamon Toast Crunch got the most votes! We all had such an amazing time and cannot wait for our next dinner on Wednesday March 7 at 5:30.

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The CVC is up and running and we can’t wait for you to get out into the community this Spring! If you want to learn more about different volunteer opportunities please join us in Miller 014 at 9pm this Wednesday February 8th.

 

Any questions please contact us at cvc@colby.edu

 

Hope to see you soon!


Welcome back to campus,

The CVC will not be holding office hours throughout the month of January. If you need taxi vouchers please email us at cvc@colby.edu.

Happy New Year!

Love,

The CVC


We are pleased to announce that the Colby Campaign for the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter has raised nearly $16,000 for the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter’s “Rebuilding Lives Campaign” over the past five weeks. The student-led Center partnered with a number of on and off campus organizations to reach the goal, including local businesses Black Dog Graphics in Clinton and Are You Ready to Party?? in Waterville. The two businesses sponsored t-shirts sold on campus as part of the fundraiser. In addition, Colby College gave a generous donation of $5,000 to support the Shelter through the student campaign.

Around 400 individuals donated to the campaign and approximately 90 percent of donations them were $25 or less. This clearly illustrates how important small donations were to the success of the campaign and that the collective action of many can make a significant impact.

Another key element of the campaign, as we have posted about throughout the month, was to educate Colby students about issues of homelessness. Betty Palmer, Director of the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter, Tony Veit, Youth Outreach Program Coordinator, and Bodhi Simpson, Director of the Teen Parent Program and Clinician at the Alternative High School, spoke at panel discussion at Colby College on youth homelessness. The event was open to the public and the podcast can be accessed here: http://www.colby.edu/news_events/c/b/111811/2600454/colby-volunteer-center-panel-realities-of-youth-homelessness-in-maine/

The Colby Volunteer Center (CVC) would like to thank everyone who contributed to this campaign. For those who supported t-shirt sales, recorded stories, worked at the coat rack, donated online, came to our educational events, talked about the campaign with others and more, the CVC cannot thank you enough for your commitment to the campaign.

If you would like to volunteer at the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter, please contact the CVC at cvc@colby.edu.


I couch surfed for a couple years before I officially became an unaccompanied throwaway teen—that is, a homeless youth. It took awhile for my high school to pick up on what was going on, which is understandable: I was an AP student who got As in classes, the yearbook editor-in-chief, and a member of class council.

My yearbook advisor intervened and brought me to the school social worker, who initially tried to place me in the local homeless shelter. As a 17 year old female, I refused. The shelter was old and located downtown, surrounded by bars and drunkards. Instead, he pulled strings to get me into a program for homeless young adults. The program set you up in an apartment and gave you a weekly gift card to Hannaford’s for groceries. They let me participate—despite being too young for the program—because it was clear that I was going somewhere.

The program, after I left for Colby, was shut down because their federal funding was discontinued.

As a young woman with no resources and few advocates, some of my experiences from that year were utterly and overwhelming terrifying. At one point, I was threatened with expulsion because I couldn’t prove my residency. Fortunately, the school social worker broke the law and entered a fake address for me in the system. By this point, I was already accepted to Colby on a full scholarship.

I’m a student here now because of a few caring adults and a teacher who helped me pay for standardized testing and college applications. He made sure I applied to Colby College despite the price tag. Without  the intervention of all the adults in this brief story, I would not be where I am now even in spite of my academic and personal talents. The homelessness I experienced is just one type of many, and I hope my experience was enough to shed some light on that.

Thank you.

 


The Colby Volunteer center, in conjunction with the Goldfarb Center and the Pugh Community Board, hosted their first panel in CVC history – “Realities of Youth Homelessness in Maine.” The three panelists were Bodhi Simpson, clinician at the Teen Parent Program and at the Alternative High School in Waterville; Tony Veit, Youth Outreach Program Coordinator; and Betty Palmer, Director of the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter.

 The evening began with a thought-provoking dinner in Diamond. The attendees included the panelists, other community members, select faculty, and students. One student shared her personal experience with homelessness, while many of the other guests discussed the issue in an intimate setting over dinner.

 

Afterwards, the event began! Dana Roberts moderated the panel, using questions that the Colby community submitted. Each panelist defined their role in the community to launch the conversation. The group covered topics such as “couch-surfing,” the stigma attached to the term “homeless,” and anecdotes from their experiences. Lastly, the panelists urged the Colby community to get involved – to volunteer at MidMaine, to donate to the campaign, or to contact the CVC for more opportunities.

   

This event exposed how great the need in this community is for a new shelter and for the construction of a youth shelter. Runaway or homeless youth occupy one of the most vulnerable populations in the United States, and they deserve our support.

If you have any questions or want to get more involved please email the us at cvc@colby.edu or if you would like to donate visit our online donation site.