By: Collin Frazier
Giving back and doing community work is instilled into UF students early on. When you do orientation, you have to do a service project during Welcome Week. If you are interested in further giving back while you’re a student, on Sept. 26, Shafer Library held “Oilers Exploring Beyond the Arch”, an open-house reception dedicated for students looking to serve communities within and beyond Findlay.
One group that was there was “Reading Buddies”, a program that allows volunteers to read to children around the Findlay area. Jillian Prince, a member of the group, said that she loves volunteering to help.
“‘Reading Buddies’ is a program that occurs at Jacobs Elementary Preschool, here in Findlay,” said Prince. “Basically, the librarian set this program up so that volunteers could come in during the Kindergarteners’ library time and you can read with them and you’ll do little themed crafts with them based on things they’ve learned in the past few weeks. It’s a really great time for everyone involved.”
Prince talked the importance of this program to the children of the school as well.
“The students really love having someone read to them because sometimes the librarian was finding that she would send the kids home with these books and they’d come back and she’d ask them about the books and they were like ‘Well, no one at home read to me’”, Prince said.
Prince cannot stress enough how important reading is for these children and she loves reading to them.
“Reading is so important, especially in your younger years. By bringing in the volunteers, they’re getting their books read to them and they love getting to know you and I love getting to know them. It’s so exciting because you’ll walk in and their faces light up.”
Another group that attended the event was “I Bear Gifts”. Which is a club dedicated to visiting long-term patients of Blanchard Valley Hospital in Findlay, was also at the event. Member Stephanie Macke gave more information on the club.
“‘I Bear Gifts’ is a club on campus, and what we do is we go to Blanchard Valley Hospital and we just sit and talk with long-term patients,” said Macke. “A lot of them don’t have someone to talk to or their family’s far away, so it really helps brighten up their day and improves their quality of life just by having someone there to talk to them that they didn’t have before.”
Macke, an Occupational Therapy major, says that being in the club has helped her not only to prepare for her career, but also see one of her career’s main goals in a whole new perspective.
“One of occupational therapy’s main goals is to improve quality of life. I think this program really helps me see that outside of the OT world, so just doing something so small by telling somebody ‘Hi’ or talking to them about their day really puts a smile on their face” said Macke.