Every fall, CJ juniors spend part of the school day in the gymnasium meeting with representatives from local service agencies. The afternoon is meant to be a convenient, personal way for teens and adults to exchange a handshake, share a smile, and discuss service-learning opportunities within the Dayton community.
On Friday, September 16, the office of ministry and service welcomed 21 area service organizations to the annual Junior Service Fair. More than half of the organizations were making a repeat visit, while others participated for the first time.
"It was a great, informative experience for all," said Gwen Buchanan, a presenter for The Glen at St. Joseph and former CJ parent. The Glen is a Christain, faith-based community designed to assist and empower single mothers struggling with poverty. Although it was the resource center's first foray into the service fair, Buchanan said CJ students have volunteered at the campus off Wyoming Street in the past with positive results.
"We always get kids with great attitudes who are polite and dependable," she explained.
JoAnn Spangler of AIM (Adventures in Movement) for the Handicapped set up a table and display board near the entrance to the gym at her fourth consecutive Junior Service Fair. She joined organizations including the Mercy Siena Retirement Community, the Aullwood Audubon Center & Farm, and the Westminster Presbyterian Church Tutoring Program among those returning to once again offer service opportunities to CJ student-volunteers.
“The service fair was wonderful. I have personally always been pleased with my experience and with the volunteers I have gotten,” Spangler said.
According to its Web site, www.aimforthehandicapped.org, AIM is a national, non-profit organization founded and located in Dayton. The organization provides enrichment activities and movement exercises for children with various disabilities at no cost to families. Spangler said she mainly asks CJ students to work AIM’s Water Program at the University of Dayton RecPlex on Saturday mornings.
“My volunteers from CJ are always excellent students who are able to work well with our special needs children,” Spangler said. About 20 volunteers are needed each morning for the half-hour, one-on-one sessions during which students work directly with the children in the pool.
“Without volunteers, we would not be able to provide the Water Program for our kids,” she said.
AGENCIES IN ATTENDANCE
As a component of religion class, students are challenged to fulfill a different service-learning goal each year of high school. Juniors must provide 25 hours to a Dayton community agency. Opportunities are available with the following agencies:
- Adventure Central AIM for the Handicapped
- Aullwood Audubon Center & Farm
- Catholic Social Services Maimi Valley Clubhouse
- Dreambuilders Group Dayton Christian Center
- Dayton Habitat for Humanity
- Dayton International Peace Museum Dayton Mediation Center
- 4 Paws for Ability Grandview
- Southiew Hospitals Homefull
- Life Essentials
- Life Resource Center
- Mercy Siena Retirment Community
- St. Vincent de Paul Suicide Prevention Center
- The Glen at St. Joseph
- United Rehabilitation Services
- ViaQuest Hospice of SW Dayton
- Westminster Presbyterian Church Tutoring Program
Five agencies were unable to send a representative to the Junior Service Fair, but students may find more service options at these locations:
- American Heart Association
- Life Enrichment Center (English as a Second Language classes)
- Hospice of Dayton
- Humane Society of Greater Dayton
- YWCA of Dayton