The Kenney Center continues to foster philanthropic opportunities

Sydney Lewis, News Editor

The Kenney Community Center is the hub of all things community service for the Union College community. From larger events such as John Calvin Toll Day of Service to smaller activities that occur weekly, the Kenney Community Center is known for its connections and service to the Schenectady community.

Janet Sweeney is the Interim Director of the Kenney Community Center and has worked with her staff to continually provide opportunities for students to safely volunteer during the pandemic.

She says, “The Kenney Center is working hard to find volunteer opportunities for in-person and remote students this term. We were able to have a modified version of our Community Experience Pre-Orientation and continue to provide volunteer options.”

Regarding John Calvin Toll Day of Service Sweeney says they are excited to still be planning the event which will be held on October 31 from 1-3pm in the afternoon. Students, faculty, staff and alumni are encouraged to participate in the event as a majority of the events and activities can be done individually.

Supplies will be provided for activities, “including friendship bracelets and notes for local school children, tissue paper flowers and cards for nursing home residents, and fleece blankets for nursing homes.”

The Union College Football team will be planting 30 trees along Lenox Ave with the help of ReTree Schenectady. Other small groups can be found volunteering at cleanup projects at the Hans Groot Kill and South Avenue Park.

All of the volunteer opportunities that are planned must be outside if they are to be in person. There have been trips to Schenectady Inner City Ministry Food Pantry, Vale Urban Farm and Fehr Avenue Farm.

There are also plans to send students to Hulett Street Farm and Plotter Kill Preserve in the near future. The groups are small and required to follow COVID-19 regulations throughout volunteering and transportation to and from the sites.

The Kenney Community Center has continued to stay involved with local youth through the Junior Science Program. Union students typically volunteer their time to participate in science activities with kids in grades four to six.

Due to Union College classes being remote in the spring, the program has been offered once per week through videos made by Union students themselves. Sweeney shared that there are currently over 20 kids enrolled in the program.

Individual tutoring sessions are also available for middle and high school aged students through the STEP program via Zoom.