The Center of Belonging and Social Change connects Ohio State students, Ohio State Alumni and community members to increase educational opportunities for vulnerable youth and families facing poverty. Through weekly, long-term, and sustained civic engagement programs and events, the community develops holistic and culturally relevant solutions.
- Assume a sense of social and civic responsibility through involvement in the community.
- Develop the ability to interrelate and establish meaningful relationships with people from different backgrounds and experiences.
- Construct a personal definition of social justice through exposure to social injustice.
- Cultivate a sense of self-awareness through critical and reflective thinking.
Our volunteers, or mentors, are expected to commit to at least one semester or one year of service depending on the program. We pride ourselves in being the next step in the journey of community service, i.e. Civic Engagement.
Mentors play a critical role in honoring and valuing the diverse experiences of others by prioritizing inclusive and sustained relationships through knowledge sharing. With this model, we aim to challenge hierarchal systems of service and volunteerism by promoting humility and authenticity by investing in our communities.
The goal of a Social Change mentor is to become an active citizen. An active citizen is not only knowledgeable about systemic oppression and societal issues, but actively engaged in dismantling oppressive structures through personal values and life choices rooted in justice and equity.
In supporting the development of our mentors along the continuum, additional professional development workshops and sessions to expand knowledge, skills and passion for social change will be made available on the journey towards active citizenship. Mentors are encouraged to:
- deliver high quality, educationally based, trauma informed, cohesive services to the campus and surrounding community
- coordinate and attend community events in the neighborhoods we serve
- apply for the Social Change Social Entrepreneurship Capstone
- apply to be Social Change Ambassador (following a semester in the program)
- lead department informational sessions for future mentors
- share stories by submitting blog posts, pictures or video testimonials to be posted on the department website, blog, and social media accounts
- participate in ongoing educational and service opportunities.
- lend their voices and talents to issues which promote social justice and social change
Our Volunteer Opportunities:
We serve in eight elementary schools, two middle schools, one high school, five libraries, three recreation centers, two juvenile detention centers, one food pantry and one nursing home. We program Monday-Sunday for 10 weeks out of each semester. Our afterschool programs are rooted in a partnership with the Columbus City School District. There is an immediate need for assistance in mentorship, literacy, and wellness.
The Columbus City School District has more than 50,000 students enrolled with 60% identifying as African American and 77% of the overall student body eligible for free or reduced meals. The four-year graduation rate is 73.7%, 13% lower than the state’s overall rate.
With our collaboration, we aim to empower students and improve these statistics through our weekly sustained investment in the community and school. We focus on literacy, leadership development, coping skills through emotional intelligence, STEM education, social movements, and arts and music engagement. We couple these programs with nutritional components to assist with access to healthy foods for increased concentration, positive behavior and overall success.
Programs are the overarching entity for the information that is distributed while sites serve as the physical locations in which we implement our programs around Central Ohio.