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Sarah Short
Sarah Short
Sarah Short's Blog
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ServeOhio Awards: Words from Vantage Career Center

During National Volunteer Week, ServeOhio had the please to honor 5 incredible individuals and groups who have dedicated their time to giving back to their community.

One awardee was the students of Vantage Career Center. Current Vantage Criminal Justice senior, Jon Meyer, spoke during the virtual ceremony. His inspirational words are shared here: 

"Hello. My name is Jonathon Meyer. I am a Senior Criminal Justice student at Vantage Career Center. On behalf of Vantage Career Center staff and students, we would like to say ‘Thank You’ for the ServeOhio Outstanding Volunteer award. And thank you to the United Way of Van Wert County for nominating us for our volunteerism during the United Way Day of Caring Food and Blood drive.

Throughout the years at Vantage, staff and students have dedicated themselves to giving back to our local communities. With able hands and service hearts, little did we know how impactful and historic our contributions would be in this little town of Van Wert, Ohio. This past year, the Day of Caring reached historic numbers of food donations to go to our local food pantries, and saved hundreds of lives through the Red Cross blood drive. We are proud to say that we had a large hand in these historic numbers.

To paint a picture for you all, Vantage’s contributions to this event are more than a day of simply bringing in food items to donate or sitting for a blood draw.

  • The maintenance team prepares the Vantage campus, as we serve as the central hub for the food drive collections from all over the entire county.
  • Our Health Information Management students campaign for the food drive approximately three weeks ahead of the event, and collect as much food internally leading up to the food drive.
  • In the meantime, the Sports Exercise Therapy students begin adding first time and repeat blood donors to a list for the blood drive.
  • The Criminal Justice students team up with the local first responder agencies to bring community awareness to the Day of Caring at the Stuff the Truck event, where students collected monetary and food donations at Walmart.

On the day of the Day of Caring:

  • Our Ag and Industrial Power Tech students line up their trucks for the food blitz donations to be hauled back to the bus barn to be packed up.
  • Early Childhood Education students provide registration and transportation for the blood drive participants.
  • Culinary Arts students prepare soup and crackers for the blood drive participants.
  • Construction Equipment Technology students team up with local businesses to pick up all food donations throughout the entire county to bring back for packing.
  • Student Ambassadors, along with the Health Information Management students, and several business volunteers, help pack up all the countywide donations that have been brought to our campus. Once all the food is packed up, it is stacked on pallets and hauled to the pantries in need.

At the end of the day, the numbers are crunched and this past year, out of over a historic 40,000 food items donated county-wide, Vantage alone contributed to over 12,000 items. The blood drive was able to collect 160 units of blood, Vantage was 78 of those. Personally, being a part of the food drive really opened my eyes to the community's ability to come together and work as one for an amazing cause. Experiencing everyone's drive to help their community was beyond inspirational to me and it opened my eyes to how much of a caring community I am surrounded by here at Vantage. I remember how tired and drained my body felt after working at the food drive and how proud I was to be a part of it. However, the happiness I felt about being able to serve my community was the greatest feeling. I will never forget being able to work alongside like minded individuals and I look forward to the next opportunity. 

In closing, we would be amiss if we did not thank the Van Wert United Way Director Vicki Smith and her board for all of the hard work, preparations and dedication they give toward not just the Day of Caring but many of the community events that continue to bring thriving resources for those in need. Thank you for allowing Vantage staff and students to be an intricate partner, and we are looking forward to the Day of Caring 2022. Thank you!"

Learn more about all 5 of our 2022 ServeOhio Award recipients here.

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