Hilbert kicked off Franciscan week with the annual Franciscan Day of Caring with students, faculty and staff participating in serving Hilbert’s community partners.
Franciscan Day of Caring allows the Hilbert community a significant chance to experience the value of service to others.
One of Hilbert’s community partners is Compeer, a non-profit organization, which is located in Buffalo, NY. At Compeer their mission is to promote good mental health through meaningful friendships. Their services include one-to-one and small group mentoring that is available to youth, adults, older adults and veterans. Compeer is always looking for office volunteers and volunteers that want to help with assisting individuals who are dealing with mental health.
Hilbert volunteers traveled to Compeer and assisted the organization with a few organizational and cleaning tasks. There were two tasks: one involved cleaning up the area around the building, the other involved stuffing envelopes with Compeer information to distribute to various nearby businesses.
Rijaa Khan, the Volunteer Engagement Coordinator at Compeer, talked about how much it meant to their organization to get volunteer help from the Hilbert community.
“It means a lot to us especially after the pandemic,” Khan said. “It’s really nice to see that youth are trying to get involved with Compeer because a lot of youth clients, especially post pandemic, are really looking for that kind of social support.”
She said that having students volunteer helps spread the word and gets others to want to volunteer. Compeer recently partnered with Hilbert College in bringing their organization to the campus. This will be campus based which will allow students to connect with people from the Hilbert community. The organization looks forward to accomplishing a bunch of things with this partnership, Khan said.
“First of all, just the fact that we can help students on that campus is just another avenue for us to provide our services to other groups that might not have received them otherwise,” she said. “Brand awareness and getting our name out there so that people can learn more about Compeer in general.”
The biggest help that Compeer needs is more volunteers. Khan mentions that there are over 200 clients that are on their wait list who are waiting to be matched with someone. After the pandemic, the number of volunteers took a big hit which put them in need for more volunteers. They are also looking for people who are willing to travel to the Buffalo area since majority of their clients are located there.
There were 11 students in the volunteer group, predominantly freshman but also some juniors. Ryan Fitch, a junior, was able to give some feedback on his experience with Compeer and the Day of Service.
Fitch said Compeer’s services are something that many people don’t use but should. He adds that this is something he would volunteer to do again.
“People underestimate how important mental health is and if I could give back to the community that helps people who have bad mental health issues then I’ll do it in any way I can”, Fitch said.
The Franciscan Day of Caring is a big event for the Hilbert community in which it helps people get involved.
“Coming from a Franciscan background in high school, I completely agree that there needs to be some type of day or activity such as this to help us give back to our community and help those that might be less fortunate than us,” said Fitch.
Compeer is just one of the many community partners that Hilbert is partnered with. If you or anyone you know are looking to volunteer, Compeer is the place to go. As mentioned, Hilbert and Compeer are partnering to bring their services to campus so stay tuned for that.