When grade school kids get off the bus at The University of Toledo this month, there will be a lot of smiles.
An after school program is being offered for kids in fourth through eighth grade from Chase Academy in Toledo during October. Each Thursday, UT students will pair up with students from Chase to participate in an activity on campus.
“There’s a huge impact on both sides — the University students and the Chase students,” said Sabina Serratos, associate director of service learning and community engagement. “They build a relationship that’s really touching.”
Serratos said the program is geared toward exposing the kids to a college campus and the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs offered at UT.
The activities will include:
• Thursday, Oct. 8 — Tour of the University’s Main Campus.
• Thursday, Oct. 15 — Dr. Patrick Lawrence, UT professor and chair of geography and planning, and chair of the President’s Commission on the River, will present on the algae blooms in Toledo.
• Thursday, Oct. 22 — Solar energy/solar panel presentation.
• Thursday, Oct. 29 — Dr. Joe Schmidt, UT associate professor of chemistry, will conduct a gaseous experiment with the kids.
All activities will run from 4 to 5:30 p.m. starting with a snack. Volunteers are required to fill out a liability form before participating.
After the Chase Academy students leave, the volunteers are asked to participate in a brief reflection where they discuss the impact the service had on them and how they can relate to others with different backgrounds.
“Our goal is to engage our students in a way that they can express themselves through service regardless of their religious understanding background,” Serratos said. “Everybody brings something different to the table as far as their beliefs, yet what makes us the same is that we enjoy serving others.”
In February, the program will resume on Health Science Campus.
The program is sponsored by the UT Center for Religious Understanding, the UT Interfaith Center, and the UT Center for Experiential Learning and Career Services — Service Learning and Community Engagement.
For more information, contact Serratos at firstname.lastname@example.org.