COTC and Ohio State Newark Celebrate Pay It Forward Initiative

NEWARK, Ohio, May 1, 2019 Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) and The Ohio State University at Newark jointly participated in and celebrated this year's contributions to Ohio Campus Compact's Pay it Forward Initiative on April 24.

The Pay It Forward (PIF) initiative is an effort to develop a new generation of philanthropists through a service-learning program that is innovative and engages Ohio college students in hands-on philanthropy, grant-making and volunteer service. Since the initiative's 2010 expansion, it has engaged more than 3,700 students and 186 courses across 38 campuses that have contributed nearly 67,000 hours of community service and $674,0500 to 478 community organizations.

ImageRichard Kinsley, Ohio Campus Compact executive director, told the student participants, "I hope, through this project, you got the feeling that you made a difference, but more importantly that you got a better understanding of what kind of work it takes to make a difference in people's lives every day."During the spring 2019 semester, Ohio Campus Compact supported several courses at COTC and Ohio State Newark through funding from the John and Mary Alford Foundation. Students from a variety of disciplines completed volunteer service to understand how their chosen organization contributes to the community.

Together We Grow Gardens, The Center for New Beginnings, The Salvation Army and The Food Pantry Network of Licking County will share in $4,000 to assist in the implementation of the efforts designed to meet identified community needs that their nonprofit organizations can fulfill. 

Tabitha Newman, COTC student, worked with Together We Grow Gardens as a part of her engineering technology capstone class. She worked with Pam Roberts who helped her identify crushed limestone and raised beds as a need to help accommodate those in wheelchairs who want to work in the gardens at Everett Park.

"I wanted to help support something that was going to make a big impact," said Newman. "Pam shared with me how working in the gardens has helped people of all ages dealing with a variety of issues, and that is when I knew I wanted to help find support for Together We Grow." Roberts added, "When students come in you get to share your passion with them and see them kind of take it on which is really neat to see."

Ohio State Newark student Jalene Pina did community service at The Food Pantry Network of Licking County while classmate Maddison Webb contributed hours to the Power For Life program that is run by The Salvation Army.

Pina said, "It was a good experience for me. This kind of service opens minds to problems and how to fix them." With the help of Charles Moore, executive director of The Food Pantry Network of Licking County, she identified the need for cereal to accompany the supply of fresh milk being received and distributed by the pantry. The pantry will purchase 2,500 boxes with the money they receive through PIF. Moore noted, "What is means to me to have these students come in is that I could be helping to create the next generation of nonprofit leaders because I am where I am today because of getting involved in community service during college."

While working in the Power For Life program for at-risk teen girls in middle and high school, Webb noticed that personal hygiene and the availability of items like deodorant, shampoo, body wash and hair products made a difference in their confidence and academic performance each day. She said, "It's not about the major things. It is about the small things that most of us take for granted on a daily basis."

The Ohio Campus Compact is a statewide nonprofit coalition of 41 college and university presidents and their campuses working to promote and develop the civic purposes of higher education. The Pay It Forward program has been implemented in a variety of disciplines including: psychology, sociology, education, criminal justice, business, marketing, communications, accounting, art, English, medicine, public relations, urban studies, nursing, social work and economics.

*Note: Elizabeth Weiser, Ph.D., Ohio State Newark professor of English, led her autumn 2018 Cultures of Professional Writing class through the process of the Pay It Forward Initiative as well. Students chose a non-profit, interviewed staff, wrote grant proposals for and prepared presentations on 12 area organizations. They chose four of the 12 to award $500 grants to including Breath of Life, Licking County Humane Society, House of New Hope and Licking County Battle Buddy Huddle.

Photo caption: left to right: COTC Professor of Engineering Technology Whit Tussing, Ohio State Newark student Jalene Pina, Executive Director of The Food Pantry Network of Licking County Charles Moore, Ohio State Newark student Maddison Webb, Salvation Army Corps Ministry Assistant Jeannie Ferrara, Executive Director of Together We Grow Gardens Pam Roberts, COTC student Tabitha Newman and Ohio State Newark Director of Retention & Student Success Initiatives and Associate Faculty Member Jamie White.

Central Ohio Technical College and The Ohio State University at Newark have forged an outstanding array of educational opportunities for the central Ohio region and beyond. This partnership is viewed as a model for higher education in the state of Ohio.  At Central Ohio Technical College, students gain hands-on, applicable experience to begin working in the field, or to transfer those credits toward a bachelor's degree program. The Ohio State University at Newark offers an academic environment that's challenging but supportive with world-renowned professors and access to Ohio State's more than 200 majors.