March 26, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 41°F


New club aims to offer students service opportunities

This semester, a new club aims to lend a helping hand to Ithaca College students who want to do community service.

Helping Hands is a new student organization that will launch this semester to provide community service opportunities to students at the college.

Sophomore Lenna Daniels, president and founder of Helping Hands, said the purpose of the group is to raise awareness of the community service opportunities on campus. She said there will be a Facebook page or website for other on-campus organizations and individuals to find volunteers for upcoming on-campus events.

Daniels said the use of social media will allow students to view almost all of the upcoming service events on campus.

“I thought that I should start an organization that kind of bridges the gap of communication between the students who want to help and the organizations that need help. [This will] basically allow organizations to get the word out about their events and getting volunteers,” Daniels said.

Daniels said she first came up with Helping Hands in the beginning of the 2014–15 school year because during the previous school year she was not able to commit to a community service organization on campus.

“For me, I just do not have the time to attend weekly meetings,” Daniels said. “It feels like a burden to have to do all of [the club] requirements when really, if you are a busy individual, you just kind of want to be able to pick and choose the opportunities that fit into your schedule.”

In order to raise awareness about Helping Hands and get people involved, Daniels said she plans to be present Jan. 28 at the Student Organization Fair.

“At the organization fair, we’ll be tabling and hopefully we will be going around to organizations and telling them about Helping Hands,” Daniels said. “I was thinking about doing a dry-erase board, possibly at the organization fair, at the start of the semester.”

Daniels said the dry-erase board would have the phrase, “The power is in my hands to … ” and feature people’s comments around the phrase. She said she expects people to write statements such as, “change the world,” “make a difference,” “make others smile” or “improve the community.” She said all of the phrases on the board will then be turned into a poster that can be viewed all over campus in hopes of getting people involved with the club and volunteering.

Sophomore Kevin Doubleday, Helping Hands community outreach officer, said as long as there are service and volunteer needs on campus and in the Ithaca area, Helping Hands will be there to fill in the gaps. He said participation and passion will help make the club thrive.

“I organized a 5K [run] this year, and my main headache was finding volunteers,” Doubleday said. “I know so many athletes who have good hearts and would love to use those good hearts, but they just can’t because of their demanding schedule.”

Freshman Michael Hanley, a varsity basketball player, said there are student-athletes who are so busy with practices and games that they don’t have enough time to commit to community service.

“I would love to do community service, but I do not have time,” Hanley said. “If I had time, like on weekends, I would love to help out at a soup kitchen or something.”

Daniels said she wants Helping Hands to host events that are easy and convenient community service opportunities, such as food and clothing drives, for those with busy schedules.

“I’m also interested in doing fundraiser events that aren’t necessarily time consuming,” she said. “When you go home for spring or winter break, you can just come back with clothes you don’t need and we will have a spot to drop them off and bring them to one of the thrift stores in town. That’s something that would help others and at the same time it’s convenient for you.”

Doubleday said the executive board members of Helping Hands want the college community to know that they are here to help.

“We need awareness of our own club. First we want to bring attention to ourselves, [and we want] athletes and busy students to know that they can join us,” Doubleday said. “We want a team of happy, go-getter volunteers.”

Megan Williams, the residence director for West Tower, is the adviser for Helping Hands. Williams said she thinks Daniels will be an effective president.

“I want to make sure that [Helping Hands] stays,” Williams said. “A lot of times when you have organizations you start out really strong and it kind of dwindles, so my hope is just for [Helping Hands] to continue to stay strong throughout the semester and the year.”