Care for All

Honoring Kean University student volunteers for all of the projects they diligently participate in

Features > Care for All
Care for All
Cougars That Care Week of Service is hosted by the Center for Leadership and Service.
Brandon Gervais, Staff Writer

Many of the clubs and organizations at Kean University are dedicated to serving the campus and local communities. Kean students have worked all over Union County participating in numerous service projects to help groups of people and significant causes.

The list of different service projects that Kean students frequently participate in is long and full of a wide range of outreach to different communities. One of such projects are the trips to the local Community FoodBank of New Jersey located in Hillside, NJ. When volunteering, students help to provide support for the Community FoodBank of New Jersey for both the staff there and the people they assist. Student volunteers sort food donations, create boxed meals, build donation boxes, sort frozen food and more.

The trips to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey serves as one of Kean's direct response to the rising numbers of families in New Jersey who deal with food insecurity. Student volunteers work to assist the 150 employees of the food bank who fight hunger every day and provide support for hundreds of families around the state. The next opportunity for students to volunteer for the Community FoodBank of New Jersey is Saturday, April 27 from 10:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information or to preregister visit Cougar Link or contact the Center for Leadership and Service at (908) 737-5175 or email serve@kean.edu.

"Hundreds of Kean University students from nearly 22 different organizations have volunteered at the Community FoodBank over the past decade. They are always enthusiastic, hard working and most willing to do whatever task is at hand. They are our neighbors and trusted friends, so much so that we honored the volunteers of Kean University at our Gala last spring. The volunteers are instrumental in helping us to fulfill our mission of providing food, help and hope to our neighbors in New Jersey," said Director of Volunteer Services Faye Kahn.

Another service project offered to student volunteers is New Eyes for the Needy, a non-profit organization in Short Hills, NJ. New Eyes for the Needy is an organization that provides prescription eyeglasses to children and adults who cannot afford them. They accept, recycle and distribute donated glasses for overseas donation. Student volunteers help with the sorting, testing and boxing of glasses for the overseas donation program.

New Eyes for the Needy purchases new prescription eyeglasses through a voucher program to provide them to people who cannot afford them. They primarily work through volunteers to make sure that people are receiving the tools they need to see the world and lessen the financial cost of their ability to see.

“We’ve had Kean University students volunteer at New Eyes for the Needy for the past three years. They come in monthly to sort donated glasses and pack glasses shipments for distribution in developing countries. I’ve always been so impressed with their work ethic and commitment to giving back. We rely on them to assist us with work that needs to be completed efficiently and accurately, and are so appreciative of their ongoing service to New Eyes,” said Sally Golding, volunteer manager with New Eyes for the Needy

Kean students have had continuous opportunities to reach out to the local community and spread their volunteerism throughout Union County. Through service projects in Elizabeth, Union, Roselle Park and more, students have been working with a wide range of non-profit organizations, ultimately expanding their community service and network.

Working in Elizabeth, Kean students have volunteered with Bernice's Place, an organization that helps low-income and homeless children by providing a safe, fun and supportive environment for children to socialize, eat meals and receive educational support. Students also volunteer at Raphael's Life House, a transitional living facility for young women of low-income women and pregnant women.

Bernice's Place works with Kean University student volunteers for many events throughout the year. The next trip with Bernice's Place is Tuesday, April 16 from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. This event will be an Easter Party where student volunteers will help lead games, arts and crafts activities, Easter related games and an Easter egg hunt.

"I have no words to describe the generosity of Kean volunteers who have helped us from time to time. The Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless is very lucky to have a close relationship with Kean volunteer groups. From the bottom of my heart I want to thank Susan Figueroa and The Center for Leadership and Service volunteers, for always lending a helping hand when we need them. Special thanks for the participation during our annual community events such as; Family Fun Day, Easter Party and The Christmas Boutique. We couldn't serve the community if it wasn't for their commitment and support," said Carina Grajales, children's program coordinator for Bernice's Place.

Recently, Kean University has been honored for the great work the student volunteers have been doing. Roselle Park Borough honored Susan Figueroa, managing assistant director for Community Service and Civic Engagement Kean University Center for Leadership and Service, for the 12 student volunteers who helped the Roselle Park community with the 2018 Roselle Park Arts Festival.

"They pitched in everywhere, helping set up the stages, sound systems, activity tables, even lugging supplies [and] making signs. Together they created a beautiful chalk mandala that was in the center of the festival. The hard work and professionalism of these young volunteers were outstanding," said the Roselle Park Borough about Kean student volunteers.

Kean's Day of Service was Saturday, April 27. Cougars that Care: Kean Day of Service is a day where many service projects will be taking place. This day is Kean's way of honoring the National Week of Service. Students, student groups, clubs, organizations, Greek organizations, faculty and staff all participated in the many events, benefiting multiple communities and non-profit companies who needed the assistance.

The Kean University Center for Leadership and Service frequently holds events like these for students to gain hours serving the community and an opportunity to make a difference, network themselves and broaden their horizons. Many of the off-campus volunteer service opportunities available to students are offered through the Center for Leadership and Service. For more information on upcoming service projects contact them at (908) 737-5170 or stop by the office located in the Miron Student Center, Room 219. You can also reach out through email at serve@kean.edu.


about the author

Brandon Gervais, Staff Writer
gervaisb@kean.edu

Brandon Gervais is a sophomore English education double major. Brandon works as a Staff Writer for The Cougar’s Byte as of November 2017. He is a part of the Leadership Institute as a Silver leader. In his free time, he enjoys reading and competitive indoor color guard. After his years at Kean, he hopes to become a high school teacher and coach color guard.