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Special Services of Geauga County - Community Support Programs



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 assists residents who are facing hardship by collaborating with community partners.  Through our non-profit, established in 2015 under the umbrella of Geauga Co. Job and Family Services, Special Services of Geauga County works to meet residents needs through donations made to our non-profit, or by partnering with churches, organizations, civic groups, businesses and individuals to assist in meeting the need. 

The following is a list of Community Support Programs: 

Volunteer Tutoring Program - 

The Volunteer Tutoring program began in 2010 as a pilot programSince its inception, the 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 one of our participating schools.  The program was on pause during COVID but we are looking for volunteers for the 2023/2024 school year. 

Financial Education Workshops -   
The Financial Education Workshop remains on hold.  One on one budgeting assistance is available by appointment. 

Sponsor A Family - 

Supported solely by donations and sponsorships for over 50 years, The Sponsor a Family program matches low-income families, foster children, and seniors in Geauga County with food, toys, and gifts for the holidays. Last year 519 families, from every geographic location in the county, received help through the Sponsor a Family program. This translates to 1,566 people served and included 754 children who received toys and gifts!  The total dollar value provided to our community was over $207,000 . . . all without a single tax dollar being spent.   

Summer Camp and Enrichment Program - 

Geauga County Job and Family Service’s Summer Camp and Enrichment Program provides Geauga JFS foster kids and low-income children in Geauga County with an opportunity to enjoy a summer camp experience or enrichment activity. The Summer Camp and Enrichment Program is funded entirely through donations.  Activities children have been approved for include resident and day camp, gymnastics, little league baseball, football and basketball camp, YMCA camp, music lessons, soccer, cheerleading, and karate lessons.  Monetary donations to the Summer Camp program also assist families with pay to participate fees and school field trips.   

Senior Assistance Program - 

As the population of Geauga Co. continues to age, so do the needs of some of our senior residents. The Senior Assistance Program was developed to help with some of the "unmet" needs our senior residents face due to economic hardship. Seniors must contact Geauga JFS to apply for help, and requests are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Seniors must have exhausted all other traditional assistance programs available before requesting help. Donations are needed to keep this program funded. Checks may be made payable to: Special Services of Geauga Co. Please indicate Senior Assistance Program in the memo portion of the check. 

Help Me Learn - 

Each August, Geauga County JFS sponsors the “Help Me Learn” program to help children in need throughout Geauga County with school supplies, clothing and haircuts for the upcoming school year. The program is supported entirely from donations of either new school supplies and backpacks or monetary donations used to purchase additional supplies needed for the program.  There is no cost to the families, but they do need to demonstrate a need to participate.  Families must be pre-registered.  Registration takes place during the month of July each year. 


Housing Assistance -
The Housing Assist Program was established to help with housing related needs and avoid homelessness for Geauga County residents. Donations to the program can help with rent, utilities and minor essential home repairs. Clients must first apply for traditional assistance programs when available. Request will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 


Car Repairs -
Lifeline of Lake and Geauga County offers the Jump Start Program which provides car repair assistance to eligible applicants.  If approved for the Jump Start Program, additional funding through Special Services of Geauga County may be available to further assist with the cost of the repair.  Clients must be eligible for the Jump Start Program to access additional funding through Special Services.  Please contact Geauga County Lifeline at 440-251-2781 or for more information or to apply. 


Additional Assistance 

Geauga JFS manages a small food pantry to assist client in need of emergency food and personal care items. Gift cards are available to help families with perishable food items and gas on an as needed basis. 

Families and individuals may also receive assistance, through donations from the community, for a variety of needs that traditional programs don't cover or have already been accessed. These needs are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. 

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 deductible donations to any of the above programs can be made payable to: Special Services of Geauga Co. and mailed to: Geauga County JFS, P.O. Box 309 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 
440-285-9141, ext. 1263