CCEC Revives Community Service Program to ‘House On The Hill’

Last Friday, the Civic and Community Engagement Center (CCEC) coordinated a service trip for students to volunteer at a House On The Hill Day Care Center for the first time since 2010.

House On The Hill Day Care Center is located, naturally, "on a hill" in Goshen, New York in Orange County. The day care center operates five days a week and assists parents with low-income and agriculture employment backgrounds by watching their children during normal work hours. Additionally, the day care serves breakfast and lunch to all of its children.

House On The Hill is a part of the Head Start Program, originally launched in the 1960s and later re-instituted with the Head Start Act of 1981. It is funded by the Department of Health to provide education, nutrition, health and parental intervention services to children of low-income families with migrant seasonal employment backgrounds.

The services are either subsidized or free of charge, depending on a family's reported income. For most of the children it is the only form of early child education their parents can afford.

Audrey Zabohonski, a CCEC student coordinator, organized the service trip.

"I chose to bring back the project because it's a real example of an initiative that truly gives back to the surrounding community. Plus, it's popular since students really enjoy working with kids that are under the age of five," said Zabohonski.

Emily Gang, sophomore, heard about the trip through Zabohonski.

"I wanted to practice using my Spanish, and I wanted to check out the site. Afterwards, I felt the experience absolutely was rewarding," Gang said. "I enjoyed working with the kids and I learned about working with young Spanish-speaking ESL learners. Volunteering is also a great way to make new friends. I would recommend the trip and would attend again."

The next trip to House On The Hill is on the morning of Friday, April 5. Students can sign up on OrgSync to participate. A van will be leaving the Visitor's Circle at 8:30 a.m. to bring students to the site and will return at approximately 1:30 p.m.

"The kids enjoyed spending time with me just as much as I enjoyed spending time with them; that in itself was rewarding for me," Zabohonski added. "It's good for these children to branch out and see new faces, and the same goes for Ramapo students. I want volunteers to walk away with something, either a new take on federal programs like the Head Start Program, maybe reaffirming their goal to become a teacher, or even the simple feeling of making a difference."

For more information about getting involved with this project and others, visit the Civic and Community Engagement Center in the Student Center in SC-217 or log onto their OrgSync page.