by Jessy Bradish
the motto, Think one person can change the world? So do we,
community service plays an important part in the lives of Oberlin
The Center for Service and Learning (CSL) and the Oberlin Community
Service Center (OCS) are the two main institutions at Oberlin that
offer community service opportunities to Oberlin students. Both
centers work collaboratively on the America Counts program, an educational
assistance program geared toward fourth and sixth graders. OCS,
however, has no relation to the College. With the exception of America
Counts, the two centers operate separately from each other.
The CSL, located on South Professor Street behind Fairchild dorm,
was founded in 1995 upon Nancy Dyes induction. [Starting
the center] was one of Nancy Dyes first goals when she got
here because shes a proponent of outreach, director
of the CSL Beth Blissman said. Currently, CSL annually helps place
approximately 1,000 students in non-profit organizations. It has
contacts with over 100 off-campus, non-profit groups and oversees
Bonner Scholars and America Reads volunteers.
These programs are available to students seeking work-study as well
as though simply wishing to volunteer.
The CSL works with various schools in Oberlin including Prospect
and Eastwood Elementary, Oberlin Early Childhood Center, Head Start
and the Seventh Day Adventist school.
In the past six years, student involvement in the CSLs programs
have grown tremendously. The trend has recently been towards academic
volunteer opportunities such as America Reads and America Counts.
Working with kids is a fun way to help the community, and
you get to watch them progress. America Counts volunteer Petrina
Most of the volunteer opportunities are within the Lorain County
area, although some extend as far as Cleveland. Once the CSL helps
a student get in touch with the volunteer organization of their
choice, they also offer vehicles for transportation. The CSL also
offers winter term opportunities, which can be viewed on their website
at ww.oberlin.edu/~csl/. The majority of the CSLs operating
budget comes from grants, which amount to more money than the College
provides. However, the support from the College has been consistent,
Students are also able to receive credit from the College for community
service work. Currently, Oberlin offers 15 classes that actively
involve community service, all of which can be found on the CSL
OCS, which is located just a few blocks south of the CSL, was founded
in 1955. Last year it moved its offices from South Main Street to
258 South Professor Street. It has been organizing and conducting
math programs for ten years, and works with fourth, sixth, and ninth
graders during the year, as well as high-school students in the
summer. These are the years that the Ohio proficiency test is administered.
Students who dont pass the ninth grade exam arent allowed
to graduate high-school.
Along with education programs, OCS also distributes food packages
from their office on a monthly basis.
Various volunteer opportunities for students are available with
OCS, including a Winter Term internship in their office. More volunteer
information can be found on their website: www.oberlincommunityservices.org..