Friday, October 19, 2012

Ready For Your Break?

January 1 - 6

What Will I Do?
Work with Via International serving immigrant indigent populations.

The trip is $550 and includes all travel, food, and lodging expenses.

A $100 non-refundable deposit is due upon registration. This fee goes toward your overall cost.

For additional information or to register; visit the Alternative Break web page at 

For questions contact Pam Branin at

Friday, May 25, 2012

Welcome to Summertime!

At the Community Engagement Center we hope you are enjoying your summer.  There are opportunities for service available this summer, and you can learn more about them by calling us at (435) 865-8335.  We do have a limited operating hours this summer.  We are open Monday through Friday, 8am to 12pm.  Feel free to stop by!  Enjoy your summer!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Thank You Reception

You are invited to the Community Engagement Center's annual Thank You Reception!  We would like to thank you for your service that you have done this year- whether that is with your club, Greek Organization, family home evening group, roommate group or any other group!  We appreciate you being engaged in your community.  
You can drop by from 3:00-5:00pm in the Sharwan Smith Center Starlight Room on Wednesday, April 18th to enjoy refreshments and see service highlights from throughout the year.  
If you want your group to have a display space to highlight your service, please contact Pam,

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Teddy Bear Den

The Teddy Bear Den held its Grand Opening Celebration this past week at the CEC.  Here you can view a video from the opening, as well as obtain more information about the Teddy Bear Den.

What is the Teddy Bear Den?
  • Teddy Bear Den is a Southern Utah University School of Business Professional Business Leadership and March of Dimes community-based, prenatal health promotion program for low-income pregnant women that is implemented in collaboration with community based organizations.  The program is designed to a promote prenatal care participation and healthy behaviors during pregnancy through two components- incentives and education.
Why is the program needed?
  • One out of every 9 babies in Utah is born too soon.  Women who receive early and consistent prenatal care enhance their likelihood of giving birth to a healthy child.  The Teddy Bear Den helps ease the burdens placed on low-income pregnant women by providing them with baby care items they could not otherwise afford.  The program encourages women to receive adequate prenatal care, further the March of Dimes mission to reduce and prevent premature birth, birth defects and infant mortality.
How does the Teddy Bear Den work?
  • Teddy Bear Den clients receive points that they can use towards incentives, such as maternity or baby care items, through a variety of positive, health-promoting activities: attending prenatal care appointments, participating in prenatal education classes, keeping appointments for well-baby visits, etc.  Teddy Bear Den also provides prenatal education information, education materials, and a variety of other resources and referrals that help clients take good care of themselves and their babies.
How you can help?
  • We depend on items donated by community groups to stock the Teddy Bear Den.  Interested groups can host a community baby shower to collect items for the Teddy Bear Den.  Spanish-speaking volunteers are also needed.
What supplies are needed?
  • Diapers and Wipes (Sizes 1-4 are always in highest demand)
  • Baby Hygiene Items: Shampoo, Baby Wash, Lotions, and Diaper Rash Cream
  • Baby Clothes (0-12 month sizes)
  • Coats, Jackets, Winter Hats, Gloves and Mittens
  • Socks, Hats, Shoes, and Sleepers
  • Baby Care Items: Combs, Brushes, Diaper Bags, Bottles and Nail Clippers
  • Soft Baby Carriers or Backpacks
  • Blankets (any size or material) and Crib-size Bedding
  • Cash Donations are always welcome!
  • Please note that the Teddy Bear Den cannot accept donations of formula, food, or used items.
Who can be referred to the Teddy Bear Den?
  • Low-income pregnant women or have a baby less than 3 months of age
  • On Medicaid, WIC or Baby Your Baby Program
Contact Information
  • SUU School of Business PBL Representative 
    • Randi Sorensen (435) 790-1851

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Service Leader Applications

Are you interested in being part of a team that focuses on service on campus and in the surrounding community? Do you want to gain valuable leadership experience that looks great on a resume or graduate school application? Apply to be a Service Leader for the 2012-13 academic school year! Service Leaders are the chairpeople over the sponsored programs offered by the Community Engagement Center. As a Service Leader, you are required to keep a minimum of two office hours per week, attend a weekly training/coordination meeting every Wednesday at 4:00 p.m., and maintain a 2.75 overall GPA and a 2.75 GPA each of the semesters that you serve.

Applications are now available in the Community Engagement Center and are due by Monday, April 9 at 5:00 p.m. If you have any questions about the available positions or the application process, you can come into the CEC or contact Pam at
You can click here to print an application or click on the link on the side of this page.

Some of our current Service Leaders comment on their experience:

Madisen Smith
“My experience as a service leader has been so rewarding. I have been able to make lasting connections, develop my leadership skills, and become a more involved and aware citizen. As much as my position is aimed towards helping and changing the lives of others, in doing so I have changed my life also.” --Madisen Smith

Gianna Lopresti
“For me the best part about being a service leader is that I’ve been able to develop lasting friendships with people who are just as passionate about serving the community as I am.” 
--Gianna Lopresti

Jackie Joseph
“The best part about being a service leader is seeing the difference in the lives of the children and their families by coming to story time. The kids learn to enjoy reading by doing different activities with the book that was read that night. Another thing I really enjoy is how much my life has been blessed by being a part of the program. I come from a stressful class to my service activity and find that life is about making a difference. Putting others first really makes a difference in my own life.” --Jackie Joseph

Harsh Kansagra

“Being a student leader is a great opportunity. It allows you to learn from the environment while you are teaching. It allows you to improve while simultaneously helping others improve and better themselves. I personally believe the leadership boat does not stay afloat by one person; it requires the collaborative effort of a group. To teach is something special but to learn from the ones that we teach is something completely different and very precious in itself.” --Harsh Kansagra

Heidi Vernon
“If you want to make a difference through service, the Community Engagement Center is the place to start. Not only was I able to serve others, but the CEC provided me with the support I needed to get my projects off the ground.” --Heidi Vernon

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

AmeriCorps and SUU

The Community Engagement Center’s resident AmeriCorps VISTA representative, Lucas Knowles has been in Utah since November.  A common question he has been asked in the past six months is “What is AmeriCorps?”  He has been answering this question since he was accepted to serve as a VISTA in the Utah Campus Compact at the SUU CEC.  This March 10-18 is AmeriCorps Week, which seeks to highlight AmeriCorps participants and their impact on their respective communities.

AmeriCorps members can serve in one of three programs, AmeriCorps State and National, AmeriCorps VISTA, or AmeriCorps NCCC.  The largest of these categories is AmeriCorps State and National members serving in a variety of full-time and part-time positions to address community needs.  AmeriCorps VISTA is an acronym for Volunteers in Service to America.  VISTAs serve full-time for one year with community organizations and public agencies to build sustainable programs to fight poverty nationally.  AmeriCorps NCCC is the National Civilian Community Corps and focuses on projects relating to disaster response, the environment, housing, and youth.  Over 775,000 people have served a total of 1 billion hours as AmeriCorps members since 1994.

Students are eligible to receive a financial educational award or stipend upon completion of the term of service; students may also postpone student loan repayment for the duration of the term. Locally SUU students can contact the CEC to get involved in the program.  Currently the Center has 78 students serving as AmeriCorps members throughout the community, primarily working with youth and disadvantaged individuals.  The dedication and ambition of these students provides a valuable service to help others and improve our community as a whole. 

To learn more about AmeriCorps programs visit and to get involved locally stop by the SUU Community Engagement Center.

This guest post was written by Lucas Knowles, AmeriCorps VISTA.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Senior Outreach Program

            The SUU Senior Outreach Program is in need of volunteers who are interested in giving back to the members of our community who have given so much and are often forgotten—the elderly. There are two assisted living facilities here in Cedar City, Emerald Pointe and Kolob, and they love to have students donate some of their time to brighten the lives of the senior citizens who live there. The residents of these facilities are often lonely and are thrilled when they have the opportunity to share their experiences with the student volunteers.

            The Senior Outreach program does not have a consistent time or day of the week because it mostly involves visiting the residents on their birthday with balloons in hand and singing “Happy Birthday.” It usually only takes half an hour to forty five minutes per birthday, so the time commitment is very small. The volunteers also help out with the parties that Emerald Pointe and Kolob offer throughout the year, such as on Halloween and Valentine’s Day. Service Leader Brooke Topham says, “I think the elderly are darling! You can learn so much from their life experiences. I love to watch their face light up when they realize that you made a special effort to remember their birthday.” Volunteer Christy Williams adds, “I love to help with old people because it’s like Christmas morning every time you go help them. They are just so much fun and so appreciative of what you do. You really can’t help but smile and laugh with them and just walk away loving them.”

            The volunteers meet at the Community Engagement Center and carpool to the assisted living homes. This is an excellent opportunity for those people who have busy schedules but would still like to give back to the community, as the time needed is not much. If you are interested in this educational and meaningful volunteer opportunity, please contact Brooke Topham at or come into the Center for more information.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service

Interested in spending your summer making a difference in Washington, DC?
Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service
June 10 – August 4, 2012
Georgetown University, Washington, DC
The Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service is a summer academic internship program in Washington, D.C. offering both internships and classes focusing on volunteerism and the nonprofit sector.
Highlights of the Institute include:
  • Internships – Competitive placements with leading nonprofit organizations
  • Classes – Up to 9 transferable credits in ethics and philanthropy from Georgetown University
  • Housing – Roommate matching and furnished on-campus apartments in the heart of D.C.
  • Service – A variety of hands-on community projects with local and national organizations
  • Guest Lectures – With Washington’s top nonprofit executives and scholars
  • Leadership & Professional Development – Leadership, mentoring and career building activities
  • Networking – With seasoned nonprofit professionals and top student leaders from around the world
  • Scholarships – Approximately 70% of students receive generous awards based on merit and financial need.
Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis until March 7, 2012.

For more information or to start an application, please visit the website at
If you are considering a summer of service and have questions about the program, please feel free to contact Kristen Wright, IPVS Program Coordinator, at or 202.986.0384.

Community Hiking

Looking for something different to do this Saturday? Why not go outside and get a little exercise?

The Community Engagement Center in conjunction with the Outdoor Engagement Center and the “More Kids in the Woods” grant from the Dixie National Forest presents the Community Outdoor Series for the Cedar City community. The Series is hosting a hike up the Rocky Peak Trail in the Three Peaks Recreation Area this Saturday, February 25th. Everyone is welcome including children!

It will be a leisurely hike and educational! Arrangements have been made to have a Bureau of Land Management recreation technician join the group for the hike. She will talk about the hike and how the BLM manages the land for the public’s use. This hike is the perfect opportunity for those who want to get some fresh air and socialize on the trail with new people. Service Leader Heidi says, “People should come if they have been itching to get outside, and just needed an excuse or someone to go with.”

If you are interested in attending, watch the weather and dress appropriately and bring your own lunch/snacks and water. Meet to carpool in the L.J. Sorenson PE building parking lot at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday. If you have any questions about this hike or the Community Outdoor Series, come into the Community Engagement Center or contact Heidi at

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


The Community Engagement Center offers several programs for students to get involved. One of the many opportunities is tutoring at the Paiute Tribal Center or at a local elementary school. It takes only an hour or two a day and is a perfect way to give back to the community.  It’s a great option for an education major looking for some volunteer experience or any other majors that love kids and enjoy being a mentor!

Tutoring at the Paiute Tribal Center is Monday through Thursday at 4:00, except for Wednesdays when it is an hour earlier at 3:00. If you don’t have transportation, you can meet at the Center fifteen minutes beforehand to carpool. Tutors mostly listen to elementary aged kids read, offer other homework help as needed, answer questions, and play board games. The kids love their one on one time with the tutor and appreciate the extra attention that they may not get otherwise. It makes them feel important that someone wants to spend time with them and help them.

Ruth, one of the service leaders in charge of the program, said of her experience tutoring: “It's the best part of my day. I enjoy getting to know the kids and tutors. It has become something that I love to do. I think a lot of people shy away from tutoring because they feel inadequate but the truth is, these kids just need some attention. I think adults forget too often how much a child can look up to a mentor. It's an opportunity to make friends, play games, and truly gain a better understanding and perspective for what these kids go through on a day to day basis.”

Volunteer Kaitlyn said, “I learned as much as I taught. At first it was something I had to do but it has turned into something I enjoy, and it makes me happy to know that in some small way I'm helping those kids learn, grow, and have happy memories with learning."
If you want more information about the Paiute Tribal Center tutoring program, please email Ruth and Shyrel at

There is also an opportunity to help out at East Elementary during the school day assisting with reading groups. About one third of the students at this local school are English-as-a-second-language learners, and so the teachers really appreciate having volunteers to help out in this area. Tutors would mostly listen to the children read to them. Studies have shown that kids who are not on par with their grade level in reading by the third grade will mostly lag behind their peers for the rest of their life, so it is imperative that these kids get this extra attention that their teacher cannot provide.

If you want more information about the tutoring program at East Elementary school, please email

And of course, feel free to stop into the CEC for more information on these and any other programs that allow you to give back to your community! 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Spring Break Options

     What are you doing for Spring Break? Staying home? Doing a class project? Hoping to scrounge up enough money to vacation somewhere? Anywhere?
     The Community Engagement Center has the perfect solution for those who want to travel and have a life-changing experience, but are short on funds.  The CEC is sponsoring three Alternative Spring Breaks this semester to San Diego, CA; Tacoma, WA; and Taos, NM.
     These breaks provide SUU students with an eight day humanitarian service experience during the day and free time to explore the city and hang out with fellow students at night. These trips are a great way for you to volunteer your time for a worthy cause and still have a unique spring break that you can brag about to all your friends and family. The best part, besides gaining valuable service experience that looks great on a resume or grad school application and meeting awesome new people, is that the entire trip is only $480! This includes all trip costs including meals, travel, and accommodations.
     You are probably wondering what exactly you would be doing during those eight days. The San Diego trip is partnering with Via International to introduce students to immigration issues. Students will work with local youth immigrant groups at a community garden, and with other organizations that work with immigrants. If you are interested in learning more about this current social and political issue, this trip is definitely for you. The Tacoma and Taos trips are partnering with Habitat for Humanity, which usually involve building or renovating housing for the less fortunate. No experience is necessary—if you don’t know your way around power tools, they’ll give you a paint brush! You will engage in direct service for four full days during the break. On the fifth day, you will have an opportunity to explore the city visited. In the evenings, you can enjoy free time to play games, hang out, sightsee, or just relax with the new friends you’ve made.
     This is the opportunity to really make a difference, learn some leadership skills, and have an experience that will impress future employers!  There are still a few spots left for these trips. Go to for more information and to sign up today! There is a non-refundable deposit of $80 due at the time of registration.  Registration closes February 17th!
     As always, feel free to stop by the CEC, for more information on these fantastic alternative spring break trips! Don’t miss out—it’s better than staying home!