Volunteer Spotlight: Robin

This week’s Volunteer Spotlight is dedicated to Robin, who is in her third semester of volunteering with TOPS! Robin, who has served as both an Educational Coach and as an In-Class Mentor, initially learned about TOPS from an enthusiastic volunteer. In the future, she will practice audiology and hopes to work with individuals with disabilities in her field.

Robin serves as the secretary of her sorority, Tri Delta, as a psychology course assistant, and just joined a research lab on campus. Despite being busy with a variety of activities, Robin is energetically leading the TOPS BuckeyeThon team as one of the co-captains.

When asked about why she loves TOPS, Robin explained:

The TOPS students are absolutely incredible. Each has their own unique and special personalities and never fail to put a smile on my face. It’s so rewarding to see each and every one of them grow and become more involved on campus.

The TOPS Program has given her a new perspective because the students have shown her “the value of passion, hard work, and determination.” If she could tell someone thinking about volunteering with TOPS one thing, she would say “do it.” “It is the most rewarding program OSU has to offer,” she continues.

The TOPS Staff wants to acknowledge Robin for her awesome commitment to being one of the TOPS BuckeyeThon team captains and for her fun-loving attitude. Thanks, Robin!

Fill Out the 2019-2020 FAFSA

The 2019-2020 FAFSA was made available on October 1st, 2018. The FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, should be filled out each year that a student is in school. TOPS students are eligible to apply for the FAFSA. While it isn’t due for a while, it is highly recommended to fill it out as early as possible (U.S. Department of Education, 2018).

Here is a brief video that explains how the FAFSA works:

Here are some helpful resources for filling out the FAFSA:

7 Things You Need Before You Fill Out the 2019–20 FAFSA® Form

8 Steps to Filling out the FAFSA

Look for more information and tips about filling out the FAFSA in following weeks!


U.S. Department of Education. (2018). Filling Out the FAFSA Form. Retrieved October 12, 2018, from Federal Student Aid: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out


Resources for Voters

The 2018 midterm elections are just around the corner, and early voting has already opened!

Did you know that “the voter turnout rate of people with disabilities was 6 percentage points lower than that of people without disabilities during the 2016 election” (Schur & Kruse)?

Consider exploring the REV UP website before heading to your polling place this November. REV UP “aims to increase the political participation of the disability community while also engaging candidates and the media on disability issues” (REV UP, 2018). The website has countless resources for voters, such as:

  • Information on your rights as a voter
  • A “candidate questionnaire” to help voters explore where their candidates stand on important issues
  • A list of issues that affect the disability community
  • Statistics about individuals with disabilities and voting
  • Resources for voting specifically in the state of Ohio
  • And lots more! (REV UP, 2018)


REV UP: Register, Educate, Vote, Use your Power. Retrieved from https://www.aapd.com/advocacy/voting/

Schur, L. & Kruse, D. Fact sheet: Disability and Voter Turnout in the 2016 Elections. Retrieved from https://smlr.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/documents/PressReleases/kruse_and_schur_-_2016_disability_turnout.pdf

Volunteer Spotlight: Baylee

This week, the TOPS staff wants to recognize one of our awesome volunteers, Baylee! Baylee has volunteered with TOPS for 3 semesters now, serving as both an In-Class Mentor and as a Social Coach. When asked why she decided to get involved with TOPS, Baylee explained:

Growing up, my uncle had Down syndrome, and I always knew that I wanted to volunteer with a program of students who were similar to my uncle. He passed away a few years ago, and around the same time, I stumbled upon the TOPS program. Helping these students meet their educational and career goals is something I really valued!

Baylee’s favorite part of volunteering with TOPS is “watching and helping the students meet their goals.” “My first semester as an In-Class Mentor, I got to meet all the students when they were brand new to OSU and TOPS. Now, as second years, seeing all that they’ve accomplished is so cool,” she explains.

Outside of TOPS, Baylee stays busy studying business with a focus in real estate. She is involved in a wide variety of campus activities, such as serving as a University Ambassador and as a Peer Financial Coach. When she isn’t busy with school, Baylee likes to visit her favorite Columbus spot, German Village. “The cobblestone streets, gorgeous houses, and dogs everywhere make me very happy! I highly recommend hanging out there during sunny afternoons.” Baylee is also traveling to Zambia later this year!

The TOPS staff appreciates that Baylee always goes above and beyond to help the program. She even traveled to New York last week with staff to take part in a presentation for TOPS. Thanks, Baylee!


BuckeyeThon Team Fundraiser: Gift Card Raffle

The TOPS BuckeyeThon team is currently holding a gift card raffle to help fundraise for their 2019 team! The raffle continues until October 31st at 8pm.

Here are the gift cards included in the raffle:

  • $25 to Cameron Mitchell Restaurants (Martini, Marcella’s, Hudson 29, Cap City, The Pearl, etc.)
  • $50 to Park Street Cantina
  • $30 to Lululemon
  • 2 free meals at Bibibop (2 winners)
  • $30 to Amazon

Interested in winning one of these gift cards?

You can use Venmo to submit your entry using the team’s username: @topsbuckeyethon. When making the Venmo payment, be sure to say which gift card you are entering to win. You may split your entries between different gift cards, such as using 2 entries for the Amazon gift card and 1 entry for the Lululemon gift card.

Here is the pricing:

$1 for 1 entry

$2 for 3 entries

$5 for 12 entries

$10 for 30 entries

Want to learn more about BuckeyeThon? Click here.

Are you a TOPS student or volunteer who wants to sign up for the TOPS BuckeyeThon team? Click here to see our recent blog post with information on how to sign up.

Homecoming Parade Recap

TOPS students and volunteers had so much fun walking in the annual homecoming parade last week! This was Ohio State’s 106th homecoming celebration. The homecoming parade dates back to 1965 and is an exciting tradition to take part in (Ohio State University, 2018). Here are some pictures from the event:


Ohio State University. (2018). The History of OSU Homecoming. Retrieved October 11, 2018, from The Ohio State University Homecoming: https://homecoming.osu.edu/history


BuckeyeThon 2019 Sign-Up

The TOPS Program has created a BuckeyeThon team for the 2019 Dance Marathon! This annual dance marathon raises money to support the Hematology/Oncology/Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and is always an exciting and impactful event to be a part of. To learn more about BuckeyeThon, click here.

To get a glimpse of the excitement of BuckeyeThon, watch the video below:

Credit: BuckeyeThon OSU

Students are eligible to sign up to dance at the event. If you are not a student, consider showing your support by donating to their team’s fundraising efforts!

How to sign up to join the TOPS BuckeyeThon team:

  1. Visit https://buckeyethon.osu.edu/.
  2. Click on “Register” – if you are a returning participant, log in first.
  3. Search “TOPS.”
  4. Click “Join Team.”
  5. Choose “Team Member” when registering.

How to donate to the TOPS BuckeyeThon team:

  1. Visit https://buckeyethon.osu.edu/.
  2. Click on “Support an Individual.”
  3. Click “Search for a Team” and search “TOPS.”
  4. Click “Donate Now.”

How to donate to individuals on the TOPS BuckeyeThon team:

  1. Visit https://buckeyethon.osu.edu/.
  2. Click on “Support an Individual.”
  3. Search for the team member by name.
  4. Click on the participant’s name and use the “Donate” button on the top right of the student’s fundraising page.

World Mental Health Day 2018 – October 10th

Credit: askideas.com

As we all try to navigate this world that is filled with multiple different types of stressors, we need to take mental health more seriously than most of us do. We constantly battle the effects of human rights violations, wars and violence in the home, schools, and businesses. World Mental Health Day is a day dedicated to bringing the stigma of weakness that comes along with taking care of your mental health to an end. The World Federation for Mental Health said it perfectly, “Suicide and substance abuse numbers have been steadily rising, LGBTQ youth are feeling alone and persecuted for being true to themselves and young adults are at the age when serious mental illnesses can occur and yet they are taught little to nothing about mental illness and wellbeing.” (WFMH, 2018) We need to come together and bring awareness to this ongoing issue in today’s society.

According to The Tribune, some tips on how to care for your mental health during college are:

  1. Develop a support network. Form a group of close friends. Stay in contact with your family. Get to know your advisors and instructors. The more people you know at your college, the more connected you’ll feel.
  2. Be active. Exercise is important for your mental outlook and helps ward off depression. Take a break from your studies and get moving on a regular basis. Shoot for 2+ hours every week.
  3. Eat well. Choose a wide variety of healthy, nutritious foods. Eat regularly to keep up your energy. Limit all-you-can-eat cafeterias and late-night raids to get pizza. Do, however, consume enough food to feel and perform your best.
  4. Get enough sleep. Sleep is vital to your mental well-being. Go to bed at a reasonable hour. Wake up at roughly the same time every day. Keep your room dark and quiet at night.
  5. Avoid substance abuse. It’s easy to overdo when you’re a student. But excessive drug and alcohol use puts you in grave physical and mental danger. If you can’t get a grip on your actions, team up with someone who can.
  6. Seek professional help. You’re not alone. Lots of people can help. Talk to a trusted adult about your concerns. Or visit Student Services. Don’t rely on the advice of friends. Sometimes you need more.

To read more on this, go to: Tips for college students to maintain mental health | The Tribune & World Mental Health Day 2018 – World Federation for Mental Health

Buck-I-SERV Trip Information

Buck-I-SERV information for Spring Break 2019 is now available! Join your classmates on a week-long service trip in Chicago, Illinois. You’ll be volunteering at the Association House of Chicago, which serves almost 20,000 children each year. You can find out more information about the volunteer site here.

TOPS students are invited to attend. If you volunteer with TOPS and are interested in joining the trip, please reach out to Shannon Prince via e-mail. The cost will be around $350 each, which includes transportation, gas, housing, some meals, and service supplies. An additional $50 should be budgeted for meals and other expenses on the trip.

This is an awesome opportunity to serve the Chicago community, explore the Windy City, and continue to get to know other students in the TOPS Program! Information about how to sign up will be available in the next few weeks.

Click here to view flyer

Have questions? Contact Shannon Prince at Shannon.Prince@osumc.edu