Service organizations seek AASU volunteers
Recruitment is Initiative Civic Engagement's debut event
Published: Thursday, August 27, 2009
Updated: Thursday, August 27, 2009 09:08
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Coastal Empire (BBBS) is teaming up with Amnesty International, Inc. and the Initiative Civic Engagement for the first "go Big" recruitment event.
BBBS, which matches children with older mentors, exhibited at the campus volunteer fair last September, and this month's event marks its first partnership with the two AASU organizations.
History professor Dr. Jason Tatlock, who also sponsors Amnesty International, Inc., said he started Initiative Civic Engagement (ICE) this semester to "encourage community partnership to all the disciplines on campus" and that he thought BBBS and ICE would complement each other well.
"Both groups are about improving the lives of individuals."
BBBS has worked to improve the lives of children across America for more than 100 years but has only been active in Savannah since April 2008.
"There was a severe need in Savannah [for a mentoring system]. Over 3,000 people requested for the program to be here," said Bigs in Schools Program Coordinator Jennifer Durden.
Durden contacted Tatlock during the summer to discuss getting college students involved with BBBS.
BBBS plans to attract students to the event with door prizes and giveaways. There will also be a meet and greet with SSU volunteers and AASU students will be able pick up application packets to complete there or at home.
The organization wants to triple its AASU volunteer base at the event.
"There are 20 Armstrong students who are enrolled in the community-based program, while there are five in the school-based," Durden said.
She said via e-mail that the goal is to recruit 50 new AASU volunteers.
How it works
Volunteers have two options to choose from: community-based mentoring or site-based/school-based mentoring.
Community-based mentoring allows children to have individualized time and attention two to three times a month, for two to three hours. Mentors are allowed to choose their outings and activities based on the interests of the child.
Site-based/school-based mentoring on the other hand, still provides kids with individualized time and attention; however, the venue is the school. Mentors usually meet up with their mentees regularly during the school year, typically each week, utilizing the resources available at the school: computer labs, library, gym, classrooms, and the playground.
During the summer months, volunteers and the kids may exchange letters, e-mails, or meet at or an agency-sponsored event. Over time some matches move to become community-based in order to meet regularly.
Before becoming a volunteer, mentors must go through a series of steps to be considered and matched with a child, starting with filling out an application.
"We process our volunteers through a driver's license check, insurance reference check, and a household check if it is community based. We also conduct interviews and do a sex offender and criminal background check," Durden said.
Once this process is complete, volunteers are then matched with a child.
"The way we match our volunteers is like Match.com. We look at who's compatible with one another," Durden said.
The "go Big" recruitment event will be inside the MCC in the Student Conference room on Monday, Aug. 31 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.