FOCUS Kalamazoo is an on campus organization that connects students with volunteer opportunities throughout Kalamazoo and Portage. These next couple weeks are crucial as they prepare to tackle their biggest event of the semester, Project Impact.
Founded in 2014, FOCUS makes finding volunteer opportunities for both RSOs on campus and individual students easier by cutting out the middleman and connecting them to various partners around the area. There are two different programs within the organization: site leader and ambassador, according to FOCUS vice president Eva Hughes. Being a site leader entails going out to volunteer alongside the group that is sent out to make sure that everything runs smoothly. The ambassador program, which is aimed towards freshman but is open to anyone interested, focuses on developing students into better leaders through different volunteer opportunities.
Started in 2016, Project Impact is a day dedicated to recruiting 200 volunteers to go out to the community partners around the area. The event will kick off with coffee and donuts at 8 a.m. at the Recreation Center. There, volunteers are able to meet and get to know the other volunteers before heading off to their sites for the day. Impact Bash is the end-of-day celebration which starts at 3 p.m. and lasts until 7 p.m. Volunteers are encouraged to stop by after their shift to reflect on the day, as well as have some fun. Not only will pizza and pop be provided, but there will be a mechanical bull and a couple inflatables.
“It’s really cool to get everyone together at the end of the event because you get to talk to different people and hear their experiences,” Hughes said.
Project Impact is being held for it’s third time on Saturday, Oct. 21. The start and end time will vary depending on the different site, according to Hughs. This year, FOCUS has partnered with the Kalamazoo Nature Center, Rickman House, Habitat for Humanity, Stewards of Kleinstuck, City of Portage Parks, Friendship Village and more. Anyone is welcome to sign up, it doesn’t matter if you are a student at Western, Michigan State, Grand Valley or a member of the community. Everyone who signs up will receive a free Project Impact t-shirt to wear on the day of the event.
To find out more information regarding FOCUS or Project Impact feel free to check out their websitewww.focuskalamazoo.com. Once there you can read more about the organization, their community partners, and sign up for volunteer opportunities. You can find FOCUS on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @focuskalamazoo.