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BW students launch resource closet during AmeriCorps Week 2023

BW celebrates the valuable contributions of AmeriCorps volunteers by starting a new student-led initiative to fill unmet community need.

BW AmeriCorps volunteer Brooke Guddy ’23), a BW public health major, connects with a client at the Old Brooklyn Senior Center.

Baldwin Wallace University students are among the 200,000 AmeriCorps volunteers who annually "get things done," helping communities combat hunger and homelessness, respond to natural disasters, fight the opioid epidemic, help seniors live independently, support veterans and military families, and much more.

BW is in its third year as an AmeriCorps host institution in partnership with the MetroHealth Institute of H.O.P.E., Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation and MetroWest Community Development Organization.

Twelve part-time AmeriCorps members, six BW students and six community members, are trained annually as CHANGE INC. Community Health Empowerment Navigators (CHENs) and stationed at partner host sites.

The CHENs help community members experiencing food or health services insecurities to get the resources and services they need through the host sites and other programs around Cleveland.

Filling unmet need

BW AmeriCorps volunteers Madi Clymire ’23 a BW biology major, and Adit Mahesh, a community volunteer, stock the food pantry at MetroHealth’s Food as Medicine Clinic

As part of AmeriCorps Week, BW student AmeriCorps volunteers are launching a new BW CHANGE INC. Resource Closet to fill some of the unmet need they've uncovered as they've worked with community clients.

"Our communities have resources for healthy food and healthcare, but many of our clients face additional barriers to meeting their nutritional needs, such as access to appropriate kitchen equipment to fulfill a required soft food diet or access to sanitary products," explains Asya Aretskin-Hariton, MPH '25, a BW graduate student pursuing a Master of Public Health degree and serving as an Ohio AmeriCorps LeaderCorps representative.

"We envision this resource closet will stock items to fill those gaps."

Growing impact

Americorps logo

The resource closet is just the latest way BW volunteers are making a difference. When the third year of BW AmeriCorps service wraps up in July, CHANGE INC. AmeriCorps members will have put in more than 29,000 hours of service.

To date, their community impact also includes:

  • 32,224 individuals reached through communications promoting awareness and access to the food system,
  • 1,401 individuals provided with foods that support healthy eating patterns, and
  • 644 individuals provided with nutrition education and support services.

"Research confirms that service affects more than just the communities served, but also the volunteers themselves," notes Dr. Laura Hopkins, assistant professor of public health. "Students involved on our campus find their service develops leadership and problem-solving skills that we know employers value."

AmeriCorps programming is administered locally by ServeOhio, the state's Commission on Service and Volunteerism. To learn more about AmeriCorps, visit

Serve Ohio logo

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