BYU and local organizations provide service opportunities for students


    By Angie Bergstrom

    Got service?

    Service is ready and available for BYU students. Local charities actually rely on the service BYU students bring to campus and the community, said several local charities in Utah County.

    One of the most popular places to find service projects is through the Jacobsen Center for Service and Learning Center in 2330 or 2010 WSC.

    When entering the glass center on the second floor of the WSC, employees greet students and ask which area they’d like to serve in.

    Janeal Thornock, 20, a senior from Brigham City, majoring in public relations, works in the center.

    She starts by asking a student where he/she would like to serve. If the student does not know where they want to serve, Thornock is ready with ideas.

    She first directs the student to the club binder, which has descriptions of each club on campus as well as a contact phone number.

    The clubs on campus have to do a certain amount of service each year, Thornock said.

    Next, she moves the student to “The Board,” which is the far wall in the center with several community, campus and tutoring service projects listed.

    She said the center can find service projects for sixty people or people who have no time.

    “Oh — check the Web site,” she said. “It’s really good.”

    Online, students can visit the interactive Web site found at, she said.

    This site gives an explanation of what the center does as well as divisions of service.

    The perfect service project can be found at the click of a button if the student does not have a car, wants to work with children or would like to speak Spanish, said Cindy Bergener, Jacobsen Center office manager.

    Bergener said the Web site is still being developed but is a great resource for students.

    Finally, Thornock refers students to the different BYUSA project directors who direct ongoing projects like Adopt-A-Grandparents or Best Buddies.

    Tutoring is now offered through the Jacobsen Center, Thornock said.

    Students who would like to tutor or be tutored should come into the center and sign up, she said.

    Thornock said around 40 to 50 people walk into the center daily, but she would like to see those numbers rise.

    The first two weeks of school are the busiest times for the center, and she recommends that students come in early if they would like leadership or on-going service opportunities.

    Students do not have to go through the Jacobsen Center, however, to find service projects.

    “Community service is big because so many opportunities are in this area and because there’s a lot of areas that have to do with charity. Call it culture or call it religion, a lot of organizations are based here and they count on BYU students to fill it,” Thornock said. “They are always, always needing BYU students to help.”

    Colleen Fowler, licensed practical nurse at Larsen’s Nursing Home in Lehi, said few BYU students volunteer to come to the nursing home, but they are very welcome.

    “We’d love to have some students come especially to perform,” she said. “We have a piano or if they brought a guitar and sang.”

    Hospitals in the area also need volunteers to provide needed service.

    According to their Web site, Utah State Hospital, a hospital for individuals with mental illnesses and developing mental disabilities, needs unlimited numbers of volunteers to teach skills or just come in for a visit.

    “Volunteers are the ones who make it possible to keep many of the facilities open,” according to the Web site.

    Community places and charities such as Utah State Prison, Habitat for Humanity and United Way all need volunteers.

    Students are responsible for contacting people themselves, and even the Jacobsen Center only acts as a liaison for service projects, Thornock said.

    Last year more than 5,000 students were involved in the 28 community service programs, Jim Backman, director of the Jacobsen Center said.

    BYU President Merrill J. Bateman invited faculty, staff and students to participate in the Jacobsen Center, according to the Jacobsen Center Web site.

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