Community Volunteers is excited to be partnering with several local nonprofits to offer five new substantive volunteer opportunities for Princeton alumni. Westminster Community Life Center, featured below, serves neighborhood families in the greater Trenton area through supplemental educational services and proves nutritious, hot meals to children who may not otherwise have a substantial dinner. The Petey Greene Prisoner Assistance Program organizes Princeton students to help prison inmates learn basic academic skills, and SPLASH, a steamboat operated on the Delaware River, provides school children and other groups with environmental education and historical appreciation. We are excited to be working with these incredible organizations moving forward!
If you are an alum interested in using your professional skills and talents to help these great organizations, visit www.alumnicorps.org to view the latest opportunities and to learn more.
Spotlight on a Community Volunteers Partner Organization:
Westminster Community Life Center
Westminster Community Life Center serves to enrich the lives of neighborhood families in the greater Trenton area through supplemental educational services such as after school programming and early literacy intervention. Dana Dreibelbis ’78 (above), has been volunteering with the Center for several months. Dana shares with us below why he chose to get involved with this inspiring organization and how he plans to use his professional publishing skills to expand the capacity of the Center.
What motivated you to get involved with the Westminster Community Life Center?
With the youngest of my children in college, it was time for me to allocate my time in new ways. My goal was to put my Christian faith into action in a local service program. Westminster Presbyterian Church (WPC), home of the Westminster Community Life Center, appealed to me with its longstanding record of leadership and outreach. Westminster is in an area of Trenton which faces a variety of challenges, including high crime rates, drug dealing, a low number of two-parent home settings, and extremely high drop-out rates in schools.
Can you describe the Center and your responsibilities there?
My work at Westminster Community Life Center has a variety of aspects. Being self-employed, I am able to carve out time to volunteer there after school on Wednesdays to provide homework assistance, reading enrichment activities, and assist with a food service. Kids who may not otherwise have a substantial dinner are fed a nutritious, hot meal. The Center also has teen-level outreach programs, which offer a safe environment, coaching in life-skills, and SAT college preparation.
How are you using your career experience in publishing to help meet key needs of the organization?
The Center’s students produce writings and artwork that is collected as a bound package. The middle school students are producing a multimedia CD to promote constructive living and discourage drug use and gang membership, and the high school students are working on an HIV prevention project.
I am planning to help expand the scope of their publishing efforts through a new initiative. The current state of digital publishing (high quality production with very low costs to produce and distribute) enables us to produce small books and multimedia products of professional quality. Many if not all of these can be sold via channels such as Amazon. Irrespective of what may happen on the ‘sales’ front, all of the participants in this process will be honing skills that could lead to jobs in the publishing/media marketplace, and career paths that are important for the long-term health of Trenton.
Why should Princetonians take action through Community Volunteers?
Many people talk about wanting to make a difference but do not know where to go or what to do. By aligning with a reputable organization with a proven track record, one has the chance to be of service and learn more about various issues. In my case that has meant a greater understanding of the direct and indirect effects of urban problems, including the complexities and impact of racism, and the difficulties faced by youth in building positive lives while being confronted with obstacles such as joblessness and gangs.
What do you enjoy most about your volunteer work?
For me, the best part about this kind of volunteering is that I have the opportunity to serve in both concrete and personal ways. I have been able to live out my faith in a positive, meaningful way while interacting with others. The relationships I am building with the staff, students, and parents, along with the supportive schools and community—all these relationships and interactions make my volunteer experience worthwhile.
Interested in Becoming a Community Volunteer?
Westminster Community Life Center is looking for the following:
Fiscal Support Specialist: Assist with documenting in-house procedures and developing a procedures manual.
Human Resource Strategist: Work to initiate, develop and finalize an employee handbook for the Center
Grant Research Specialist: Research and identify applicable grants to support program objectives and general operating costs
To view the above opportunities and more, click here.