Hiram College

Hiram College sociology student volunteer Brittney Nemecek helps pack carrots for families in need at Ravenna’s Center of Hope.

Giving back is a fundamental part of Hiram culture that extends well beyond the campus. With that and the upcoming holidays in mind, Robin Shura, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology, and 19 students from her Sociology of Mental Illness class volunteered last week at the Center of Hope in Ravenna.

They joined forces with dozens of other community volunteers and agencies to pack some 800 boxes with holiday groceries. Rice, gravy, fresh produce and other ingredients were delivered to hundreds of families in need throughout Portage County.

Shura says that her students volunteer as a means for understanding social factors such as poverty, homelessness and stigmatization, which often are associated with mental illness. Perhaps even more importantly, they realize that to give is to receive.

“It’s more fulfilling to give back love, support and resources to people knowing you’ve made that person’s day better,” says Hiram sociology student Brittney Nemecek, who volunteered at the center. “To me, giving back is not only to appreciate what you have, but what you can do for others.”