The Ohio State University continues to take steps to lower the cost of education for students. From scholarships to grants, the university is dedicated to making college affordable for every type of student. One university offering that is making a financial difference for senior citizens and traditional students alike is the GIVE Back. GO Forward. pilot program.
GIVE Back. GO Forward. is coordinated through a partnership with the university and the Ohio Department of Higher Education. This program offers Franklin county residents age 60 or older the opportunity to earn a voucher for three undergraduate credit hours in exchange for completing 100 or more community service hours at a designated community partner within one year.
Aligning with President Drake’s 2020 vision, the program offers a new way to increase access and affordability for Ohio residents. So far, the program has enrolled over 100 volunteers who began their service hours this summer. One of these volunteers is Harvey Shaw who completed his 100 hours at St. Stephen’s Community House.
St. Stephen’s Community House is a hub dedicated to helping people become self-sufficient through programs and services that strengthen individual well-being and connection to their community. The community house offers services from early childhood care to neighborhood needs. Shaw first started volunteering at this location three years ago after pastoring across the street at the House of God Church.
“I spoke with my church and shared my desire for us to be more involved in the community and make a difference in the lives of others,” Shaw said. “I decided to walk across the street, see what was being offered, and I’ve been volunteering here ever since.”
Shaw first heard about the GIVE Back. GO Forward Program from his supervisors at the community house. They signed him up and over the course of six months he was able to complete his 100 volunteer hours by spending time in the food pantry and developing the organization’s online application form.
“I wanted to use my background in IT programming to help others; developing their online form was a big part of that,” Shaw said. “I have truly enjoyed every moment I have spent helping my community through St. Stephen’s.”
With the credit hour voucher, Shaw plans to head back to school and further his studies. While he has both his Bachelors and Masters degrees, this time around he plans on pursing courses focused on family counseling.
“Volunteering and this program have helped open another door for me I didn’t know was possible.”
For more information on the GIVE Back. GO Forward. program, visit the program webpage.