By Lisa Johnson
Local community service organizations met Tuesday with BYU?s Center for Service and Learning to help strengthen the relationship between BYU and the Provo community.
This is the second year the Center for Service and Learning hosted the Community Affiliate Workshop. Thirty-five people from various local service organizations, including United Way, came to learn of the roles, functions and changes of the center and also gave feedback.
?We are the connection between the students and the service opportunities,? said Tyler Woolstehulme, student assistant to the director of the center. ?This workshop helps strengthen the ties.?
Woolstenhulme also said the workshop is a way to network and get to know the people they are connecting with.
Sarah Westerberg, director of the Center for Service and Learning, said this workshop is a way to clarify to the local organizations what the center can offer.
?It?s all about helping community agencies understand our mission as The Center for Service and Learning,? Westerberg said. ?Many think we have a list of volunteers in a filing cabinet, but that?s not how we work.?
The workshop helped answer questions and clarify confusion for Karla Sedillo, program director of the Saftey Net Mentor Program. She said she realized the only way students find out about her program is through informational binders at the center, where every organization that uses the center is listed.
?We need so many volunteers all the time,? Sedillo said. ?We?re trying to figure out how to let the students hear about our mentor program.?
Because of changes in the center, students soon will be able to find out easier what service opportunities are available. Westerberg informed organizations of a service bar, which, she said, would be completed in two weeks.
It will be called ?Stop N? Serve,? and it will be a place where students can come to the center in the Wilkinson Center and search a database of service opportunities.
Through the service bar and the center?s new Web site, Westerberg said students will be able to keep track of service hours and also come in to do sedentary service projects when they have a few minutes to spare.
At the end of the workshop, the center opened for discussion and asked the organizations present for feedback.
?We value our partnerships,? Westerberg said to them. ?We understand that you have goals too.?
Marilyn Bignee, from Genola Migrant Head Start, was concerned with the transportation available to BYU students without cars. Another representative wanted to expand the Tutor Outreach to Provo Schools tutoring program to Orem.
The center wrote down the comments and concerns of the organizations to discuss further changes that need to be made.
?It?s hard to sometimes keep in steady contact with organizations,? Westerberg said. ?This way they tell us things they normally wouldn?t call and tell us. It?s a way for us to connect.?