Often, individuals and families working with Geauga Co. Job and Family Services have needs that go beyond the scope of traditional assistance programs. Other times, they may have exhausted traditional assistance, but the need still exists.

Community Support and Volunteer Services assists Geauga Co. residents who are facing hardship by collaborating with community partners such as churches, organizations, civic groups, businesses, and individuals to assist in meeting the need.

In addition, Community Support and Volunteer Services also coordinates the following programs throughout the year:   This is accomplished by identifying and verifying a client’s need and then contacting community partners (individuals, churches, organizations and civic groups) to request their assistance in meeting the need.

PROGRAMS

Volunteer Tutoring Program -

The Volunteer Tutoring program began in 2010 as a pilot program at Jordak Elementary and Cardinal Intermediate School in the Cardinal School district. In 2011, the program expanded to include Burton Elementary School in the Berkshire School district. Ledgemont Elementary joined the program in 2014 and Newbury Elementary joined in 2015. Since its inception, the Volunteer Tutoring Program has provided additional help to thousands of elementary school students. The goal of the program is to match individuals interested in volunteering with children who need extra help in school. Individuals can volunteer to work one on one with a student or help in a classroom setting. Volunteers complete a training and background check, and are then placed in the school. Currently, there are 35 volunteers in this program. We are looking to expand the program to other school districts in the near future.  

Financial Education Workshops -

The Financial Literacy Workshops is a two part workshops offered to Geauga County residents free of charge. The goal of the workshops is to empower Geauga County residents to make informed financial decisions for themselves and their families. Workshop topics include communicating about money, creating a personalized budget, how to pay down debt, improving your credit score, and identity theft.

Sponsor A Family -

Supported solely by donations and sponsorships for over forty years, The Sponsor a Family program matches families, foster children, and seniors in Geauga County with food and gifts for the holidays. In 2015, 484 families, from every geographic location in the county, received help through the Sponsor a Family program. This translates to 1,591 people served and included over 917 children who received toys and gifts! Approximately 1,450 pounds of food was donated and distributed to families in need throughout Geauga County. In 2015, we had 167 sponsors who either sponsored a family or collected food or toys to be distributed. More than 300 volunteers participated in the program and donated approximately 900 hours of their time sorting and packing food and toys. On delivery day, JFS staff and volunteers deliver the food and gifts to families.

Summer Camp and Enrichment Program -

Geauga County Job and Family Service’s Summer Camp and Enrichment Program provides low income children in Geauga County an opportunity to enjoy a summer camp experience or enrichment activity. The Summer Camp and Enrichment Program is funded entirely through donations. In 2015, over 115 children benefited from this program. Activities children have participated in include resident and day camp, gymnastics, little league baseball, football and basketball camp, YMCA camp, music lessons, soccer, cheerleading, and karate camp. Foster children in our agency’s custody receive first priority. Some foster children, because of special needs, must go to camps that are quite costly.

In addition, children who live with their family while receiving child protective services and children whose families are struggling financially are also considered. Monetary donations to the Summer Camp program also assist families with pay to participate fees and other enrichment activities. Limited funding has forced many schools to institute a “pay to participate” policy for after school activities. These participation fees can range anywhere from $100 per year up to $425 per sport.   

Help Me Learn -

Each year, Geauga County JFS sponsors the “Help Me Learn” program to help children in need throughout Geauga County with school supplies for the upcoming school year. The program, supported solely from donations, receives back packs, paper, notebooks, binders, markers, pencils, pens, crayons, scissors and much more. Monetary donations are used to purchase additional supplies. Qualifying families register for the event and parents are able to bring in their children so they could go “ shopping” for school supplies. Volunteers help the kids fill the items on their school supply list. There is no cost to the families but they do need to demonstrate a need to participate. Donations are received throughout the county by individuals, churches, and organizations. In 2015, more than 520 children, from every school district in the county, received help with school supplies.

ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE

Geauga JFS coordinates donations of beds, appliances, furniture, diapers and personal care products with families in the county who are in need. Families in emergent need due to domestic violence or natural disaster take priority. Families are contacted and delivery is scheduled when a particular items is received.

Clothing, shoes, and small household items can be obtained at The Sunshine Shop. The Sunshine Shop is a non- profit thrift store located at the Burton Fairgrounds. Individuals needing help can obtain a voucher from Geauga JFS. The Sunshine Shop hours are Friday and Saturday from 10am – 2pm.

Organizations, clubs, and individuals looking for volunteer opportunities can be matched with a family needing some support or assistance. They may choose to assist on a limited/one time basis or they can help the family throughout the year. This may include yard work, minor repairs to the home, helping with food, helping a client move, transporting a client to a medical appointment out of county, or tutoring.

Tax deductable donations to any of the above programs can be made payable to: Special Services of Geauga Co. and mailed to: Geauga Co. JFS, 12480 Ravenwood Dr., Chardon, OH 44024. Please indicate the program you would like to support in the memo portion of your check.

For more information on any of the Community Support programs, please contact:

 

Sara Shininger

Community Support/Volunteer Coordinator

Geauga Co. Job and Family Services

sara.shininger@jfs.ohio.gov

440-285-9141, ext. 1263