1 Year Gone, 1 Year Left

It has been one year since I started working with the kids at Trevitt Elementary through BCEC. As a junior in college, I only have one more year with these kids and BCEC. We have accomplished so much this past year and fought so hard to do right by these kids. Yet, there is still so far to go until some of these kids are no longer living in poverty, testing inferiorly, emotionally distressed, and going hungry.


So what did we do this year? We did science experiments such as making slime, trying to squeeze as many water droplets on a penny as possible, dissolving eggshells in vinegar, and extracting DNA from strawberries. We celebrated many holidays, from the Fourth of July to Martin Luther King Day to Christmas. We made posters about bullying, important historical figures, body systems, American history, and animals. We practiced and practiced for standardized tests by reading passages of poetry, nonfiction, history and nature. We made multiplication flash cards, solved problems with fractions and learned how to divide. We learned how to write an essay and what an adjective was. We learned how to deal with situations that hurt our feelings, such as when someone hits you or calls you a bad name. We learned how and why we should respect others. We learned how to play with each other and how to be friends with others of all genders, ages, and races.


Trevitt is a failing school (both academically and behaviorally), and it is a huge problem that many have been trying to solve. However, I honestly do not see an improvement in the school as a whole. Elementary kids (remember, they are 5-11 years old) are being suspended for days at a time, and no effort is made to prevent future problems. Violence is often seen as the only way to solve problems, and kids don’t know how to self-regulate. There are staff members at Trevitt that I absolutely appreciate and enjoy corresponding with. But there are those that I have my differences with. When we first started at Trevitt, we were placed in the library. My first thought was “Great! Now when the kids are done with their work, they can grab a book off the shelf and practice reading.” Nope. Kids are not allowed to even touch the books, let alone read them. The reasoning? These kids will vandalize, steal, or lose these books. I obviously am not going to name names, but there are multiple adults at Trevitt who treat these students like criminals and give them labels without being willing to change them. So the kids at Trevitt are failing their reading tests, but they are yelled at for reading the books in the library? That makes perfect sense. I know that I am not perfect either, and I realize that I have only been at the school for a year and I am not there everyday. But being there has made me realize that these types problems are not cause by one or two factors. They are caused by neglect, poor nutrition, inadequate administration, biases, politics, laziness, inattention, and pride. The one thing I was not expecting to do at the school (and still have trouble wrapping my head around) is playing politics with adults. I cannot tell you how many times staff has gotten offended or their pride has been wounded, and that has hindered the way that kids get treated. In order to do my job, I have found that I not only have to cater to the children, but the adults as well. But shouldn’t our first and only reason for doing everything be to better the lives of these kids?


These kids have come a long way, but they have such a long road ahead of them. All we can do is fight for their right to have an equal education, a stable household, nutritious food to eat, proper clothes to wear, and emotional health. A couple of months ago, in correspondence with one of my co-workers, he ended his email with the quote “Keep fighting the good fight.” It just so happened that that week was one of the toughest at Trevitt and I was having a really hard time moving past the challenges I faced that week. We weren’t even talking about my challenges but it just happened to be exactly what I needed to hear. These 5 words were enough for me to instantly feel more encouraged and put things into perspective. The work that every single one of us does is truly a FIGHT. It is a fight against those who do not share our passion and who actively work to hinder us. It is a fight for those who are not strong enough to fight for themselves. It is exhausting and tiring and frustrating and heartbreaking. But is also enlightening, empowering, and life-changing. To witness firsthand that you are making a change in the lives of others is a feeling that is priceless and so encouraging. It is a GOOD fight. And there is nothing else I would rather do.

Volunteer Experiences Part III

Rachael Himes

My name is Rachael Himes, I am a first year here at The Ohio State University and I have been volunteering at Isabelle Ridgway since the beginning of second semester. My experience has been great and I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with the patients and be included in the creative projects, games and events that Daniele schedules. Being a volunteer at a rehabilitation center in my home town drove me to continue working with geriatric patients here in Columbus and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to do this sort of work through my school instead of independently. Working with other volunteers that have a genuine interest in working with these patients is enriching and enhances the experience for not just the residents in the nursing home but for other volunteers as well. Though we have only worked together a short few months, I would consider the people I volunteer with my friends and that in itself makes the experience more positive.

Daniele, our program leader, has been very accommodating throughout the semester and has put in more effort than we could ever ask for. I am glad to have a caring organizer and to know that she puts 100% effort into the cause we volunteer for. I have had such a great experience that I would most definitely recommend others to join in this program and to help bring awareness to the community. The more volunteers we receive, the better ratio of volunteer to residents we can achieve and the happier the patients become. I would hope anyone with a passion for spreading happiness and assisting in brightening the day of those within the community would reach out and join our volunteering team.



Ally Brady

I found BCEC while attending a mandatory First Year Success Series, and words can not describe how grateful I am to be involved in such an inspiring organization. It was just chance that landed me working at Isabelle Ridgway Care Center. I had originally signed up for one of the after school programs, but since those were all full, I saw openings in this program and took them for volunteer experience. Although working at the care center isn’t exactly what I expected, it is the most fulfilling part of my week. In Isabelle, the patients vary in age, they vary in degree of disability, and my personal favorite, they very in personality. I have had the privilege to work with all of these different people, and they make my week every time I go. Every Thursday from 6 to 8, a group of volunteers and I coordinate and participate in fun activities to keep the residents involved. We play all sorts of games, make crafts, and even dance along to music. The whole experience is just a break from the stress of school and provides an escape from the real world. This escape even has it’s own entertainment because these residents are all such characters. From working at Isabelle, I have learned about some amazing people, and I have also learned a few things about myself.

Going to the care center on a regular basis has allowed me to build relationships with the residents that I would have never experienced had I chosen not to volunteer. It is so important that we volunteers are consistent in going because some of the residents don’t have family or friends to keep them company. Our presence twice a week gives them something fun to break the cycle of living at the care center. It is my responsibility to be there for these people, even if I have other stuff do to because, in the end, they are my top priority. I have grown to really care for these residents, and when the school year is done, it’ll be sad not seeing them every week. Volunteering at Isabelle has also taught me patience along with responsibility. It is somewhat tedious working with the residents who don’t remember everything or aren’t as sharp as they once were. Even though it’s a little more work, it is so worth it to be able to see the smile that I can bring. Being at Isabelle Ridgway Care Center is one of the most rewarding experiences I have had since coming to Ohio State.


Jennifer L

Throughout my weekly volunteering at Isabelle Ridgway Care Center, I have developed strong friendships not only with the residents, but also the other volunteers. It’s been awesome to watch the personalities of some of the residents develop over the course of the semester. I personally connected with one of the residents during a game of corn hole. She started by telling me how she had just been released from the hospital following a surgery, and then we got into discussing the surgeries and hospitalizations she has had. Through these discussions we were able to connect over our similarities in procedures and hospitalizations. Another part of volunteering that I really enjoyed was watching the residents get so into the activities. One specific activity that caused this was the balloon activity. Two bags worth of balloons were blown up and placed on the table. The residents all sat around the table and one the count of three they all started hitting the balloons to keep them off of the ground or the table. Residents started hitting them at each other and at the volunteers, it somewhat turned into a simplified dodge ball game with balloons. I’ve never seen the residents laugh that hard. I always have a great time when I’m volunteering at Isabelle, and the residents and other volunteers never fail to make me laugh.

Volunteer Experiences Part II

Grace R

If I had to describe my experience at Isabelle, I would say that it has been colorful. Before I was a regular volunteer, I had stepped foot into a senior center no more than five times in my life. My expectations of the site, our activities, and the other people serving with was very minimal. I have been blown away by my experience; I never knew that there was such a lively population of people hiding in the gem that is Isabelle. Each week has brought new faces, new crafts, and activities and always new one-liners from our “regular” residents. Before this experience, I never considered myself to be drawn to the senior population, but these residents have captured my heart. I have heard stories of loss and of love, I have seen the residents weep at the thought of our dedication and commitment to them, I have seen friendships form and I have seen eyes brightened each and every week I am there. The residents and the activities have been only half of my experience, however. The other half has been the people that I am surrounded by during the weekly visits. I have met a site leader and other volunteers who have a passion and a love for serving others. I am moved, challenged and encouraged each and every day by these people. I have seen myself grow up and learn what a commitment to someone else means. My site leader has taught me that although every week isn’t always a party or the best day of my life, it isn’t about me and these residents depend on us. This responsibility has given me tools that I use in several other aspects of my life. I can never say thank you enough for all this program has given me. Leaving Isabelle at the end of the semester will be very sad, but I will have an unsurpassable amount of joy knowing that I was able to make a difference in the lives of the residents I spent my time with week in and week out.


Amanda Champa

My experience at Isabelle Ridgway Care Center has been really fun so far. I have met some really great people whom I have made unforgettable memories with. Every week I look forward to seeing everyone and putting a smile on their faces. Even though most of the residents are older, they don’t let that bring them down! They are all teens at heart. We do different things every week such as bingo, corn hole, holiday parties, balloon games, make pancakes, and play racing games. We have all formed strong bonds with one another and are excited to see each other every week. We make them laugh and they make us laugh. It makes me feel great when they say things like, “I really appreciate all of you coming”, “I love all of you, you are all so sweet and kind” and “We love when you come, can’t wait to see you next week!” Their smiles make me smile. I have learned a lot from this experience and I look forward to the next few weeks with them. I am going to miss seeing and hanging out with them once summer comes. I am very thankful for this opportunity and would suggest Isabelle to anyone. More people should volunteer, because you never know who could use your help or just needs a friend.

Volunteer Experiences

Ryan C

My time at the Isabelle Ridgway Care Center, albeit short, has actually been a very positive experience so far. Coming in, I really didn’t expect the range of diversity that the residents at the home offer. Interacting with residents who are suffering from illnesses from either old age or misfortune, who generally hold a positive attitude, has been awesome to experience. Honestly, it is still a little unsettling for me to try and adjust to their lifestyle, because of the help they need to do certain things, but it also humbles me to realize how privileged I am to be able to live my life without assistance. Overall, Isabelle has been a solid experience, I hope to continue to get to know the people there, and make their lives a little better, as much as I can.


Willie L

I really enjoyed working with the residents at Isabelle. It definitely gave me experiences that I never had before. Both of my mother parents were deceased before I was born; so I never had the opportunity to spend time with older people like I do now. There has never been a day when I didn’t look forward to participating with the residents. They are always entertaining and you never knew what was going to happen; they are full of surprises. I remember times when I was having a bad day and I would go volunteer and leave with a smile on my face. We even shared tears of joy together. They were definitely like the grandparents that I never had. Even though the semester is coming to an end I will always have the memories we shared together.


Ziare S

I am enjoying my experience at Isabelle. I love when we are playing games with the elderly because you can see the excitement on their faces. Also, when we do the different activities, we are learning their likes and dislikes.



As a freshman at Ohio State University looking for an opportunity to get involved and volunteer in Columbus, Isabelle Ridgway Care Center has been the perfect place for me. Thus far I have enjoyed interacting with fellow volunteers and patients at the Care Center. I cherish the opportunity to bring joy to the patients, and brighten their day through conversations and various activities. These small gestures let the patients know that someone cares about them. Their smiles and laughter linger in my mind days afterward. I am proud to have the opportunity to give back to a city that is now my “home away from home” and I look forward to continuing my volunteerism at the Care Center.




Watching the horizon as the sunrises

Birds are chirping as the light is shining

Into your eyes

It’s blinding

But such a beautiful scene

Imagining that the world is at your disposal

Perhaps it’s a proposal

That suggests that so much has been done and so much more is left to do

That there’s no reason to feel blue

Things are looking up

The cup is half full, not empty

There’s plenty of time

Despite what u may think you are still in your prime

Fully capable of living life to the fullest

Like a pulpit

You rise above your surroundings

It’s astounding

Rebounding from that dark place

Escaping like an untied shoelace

There’s a difference between living and existing

One is fibbing and the other is winning

To be honest

You all have much promise

So I must pay homage