Students give back through Massillon Summer Service projects

Posted on May 05, 2023

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In partnership with The Repository, every Monday, Stark Community Foundation highlights positive happenings in our community. Here’s to Good News Mondays! 

Through The Legacy Project of Stark’s Summer Serve program, Stark County middle school and high school students will spend time volunteering this summer, giving back and serving organizations in the Massillon community.

The goal of Summer Serve is to help students grow their passion for helping others by exposing them to local opportunities and organizations. This program also helps students acquire the service hours needed for their graduation seal, job applications or college applications. Students from any school district in grades 6-12 can apply to participate in the program at no cost.

“We believe that opportunities like Summer Serve are vital for our youth and our communities,” said Rachel Van Dyke, The Legacy Project of Stark program director. “The youth get a chance to see and work with organizations around their community. They get to experience how passionate these organizations are for helping others, what a joy it is to do so and how they can become more involved.”

Five sessions of one-day community service projects are scheduled from June through August. Students will pack 100 toiletry bags for the Salvation Army and upgrade its outside community picnic space, assemble boxes of food for veterans at the SAM Center, clean up the Tremont Bridge, Bottoms Park and Lincoln Park in partnership with Massillon Area Greenways Inc., and meet Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry for the final project at The Legacy Project’s 708 building. 

In addition to participants, the program is also accepting applications for community members interested in mentoring and serving alongside the students. Mentors are strategically involved to impact the students in a positive and meaningful way by helping them find joy in serving others and giving back to their community. Anyone can apply to become a mentor, and mentors are accepted pending background checks. 

“We need to create a bridge for our communities and youth to work together in a positive way,” said Van Dyke. “During Summer Serve, members and organizations within our community will see youth coming out and helping to serve others, showing their strengths, passions and heart for their community.”

The nonprofit’s mission is to build small group mentoring relationships between students and community members that promote resiliency, emotional well-being and strong social skills. Its main programming occurs during the academic year as part of the students’ school day and encourages smart decision making, responsible academic performance and positive behavior modifications. Today, The Legacy Project of Stark has 240 adult volunteer mentors serving more than 1,500 middle-school-aged youth across nine Stark County school districts.

Learn more about The Legacy Project of Stark and apply to be involved with the Summer Serve program at www.lpstark.org.

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