Sometimes within our tri-campus bubble, we forget to think about the community outside of the University. South Bend, even with all of its hot spots and local charm, is a city in need of service from people like you. There are many organizations in need of young, smart and energetic volunteers — that I know this campus holds. Whether you are looking for an internship, service hours or just like to help others, here are some great local organizations you should look into! Tell your friends! Tell your professors! Get involved with a good cause today!
- Unity Gardens: Unity Gardens is a local community garden for residents of the area! Started in the summer of 2008, their initial one garden has grown to 55! Those in need are welcome to come and pick fresh produce and learn about healthy eating. They also conduct classes on gardening, beekeeping and chicken tending to empower others to “grow their own.” Reach out to them today — you will not be disappointed!
- Green Bridge Growers: Green Bridge Growers uses aquaponics, a unique growing technique, to produce their fresh produce. The organization partners with individuals with autism to provide jobs and foster skills. The organization was started by Chris Tidmarsh, who found it was difficult to enter the post-graduate workforce as a young adult with autism. Since then, Green Bridge Growers has taken off. Find them on social media or check out their website!
- Dismas House of Indiana: Dismas serves as transitional housing for recently incarcerated individuals within the community and assists with resumes, job searches and therapy programming. Dismas provides a safe, clean and stable environment for individuals to get back on their feet and away from crime. Dismas is unique in the sense that it often partners with college students as interns, volunteers and also as live in residents, who get to live and work with this demographic and make a difference. Since opening their doors, Dismas has housed over 1,600 formerly incarcerated people and over 100 college students. They are always looking for volunteer groups to cook dinners, help with clean-up or house repairs and other projects.
- Saint Margaret's House: Saint Margaret's is a day center for women and children in need. They have a strong belief that “each woman is talented and gifted and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.” They provide hot meals, computer access, laundry facilities and private showers; they also host numerous community events, such as the Saint Margaret's Annual Winter Walk to promote awareness for women in need.
- Back the Bend: Back the Bend is an annual day of community service hosted by Notre Dame. This year, it will be hosted on April 25. On this day hundreds of students dedicate their time to go out into the community (and to many of the sites mentioned above) in one giant city-wide day of service, clean up and restoration. Gather a group and get out there!