Making a Difference in the Community

By David Ford


Members of the Youngstown State University Honors College volunteered at several locations on Saturday for the annual Global Day of Service. The YSU Honors College encourages students to get involved in the community and make a difference through their volunteer work. Amy Cossentino, the director of the YSU Honors College, said the students’ volunteer work leaves an imprint on the community.

“Global Day, which started in 2012, connects students to each other, the campus and the Youngstown community,” Cossentino said. “Whether it is writing cards of encouragement to veterans, making mats out of plastic bags for the homeless, tending community gardens or cleaning animal cages, every volunteer is making a positive impact.”

Each honors college student is required to complete 60 hours of community service, but according to Nick Boyle, YSU student and member of the honors college, volunteer work is extremely vital.

“I think it’s important to spend our free time giving back to the community,” Boyle said. “We all have free time that adds up.”

Boyle was among the several students who volunteered at the Dorothy Day House, located right near campus.

The Dorothy Day House located in Youngstown opened nearly nine years ago, thanks to the help and dedication of Sister Ann McManamon and several volunteers. The mission of the house is to provide a safe environment, warm meals and care to the homeless and impoverished.

According to McManamon, the amount of support through volunteer work and donations has been nothing short of amazing.

“No one is paid here. No one gets a cent for what they do,” McManamon said. “They do it out of their heart. It’s amazing the kind gestures we receive.”

McManamon added that the house is open four days a week and feeds nearly 100 people nightly. Despite the commitment to making a difference in the lives of those they help, she said the house has been subject to a widely controversial move.

“We moved to the idea that this house would be ideal to take in two refugee women,” McManamon said. “A lot of people in Youngstown don’t want refugees, but we want to help.”

According to McManamon, everything the house does revolves around the guests and welcomes anyone who desperately needs the help, especially refugee women and their children whose husbands and fathers were murdered or disappeared attempting to flee Syria.

Volunteer work is vitally important in providing a safe, clean environment for the guests, especially from YSU students, she said.

“Each year YSU sends students to the house,” McManamon said. “This year they sent about 30 students and I always push harder on them to come back. I think nearly 15 offered to return.”

Other YSU students participating in Global Service Day volunteered their time for charitable organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Angels for Animals, the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley and the Ursuline Sisters among various others.