Volunteer Service Learning Project Ideas for OB 321
Community Action Services is dedicated to fostering self-reliance in individuals, families and communities
since 1967. We are a private, non-profit charity that works with more than 6,000 low and moderate-income
families annually including the working poor, the elderly, disabled and others. We operate six programs
serving Utah, Wasatch and Summit Counties including the Community Action Food Bank (the 2nd largest
food bank in Utah.)
Learn more about us at www.CommunityActionUC.org
Community Action Services
815 South Freedom Blvd., Suite 100
Provo, Utah 84601
Part of America’s Poverty Fighting Network
Contact Person: Myla Dutton, Executive Director
(801) 592-7830 Cellular
(801) 373-8200 ext. 250
At least one member of interested groups should attend one of the general agency orientations if possible to
learn about our commitment to making your project meaningful and successful, and to learn about the
agency - its mission, programs, etc. The orientations are 45 minutes long and are scheduled as follows:
Thursday, Jan. 18, 2007 at 11:30 a.m.
Friday, Jan. 19, 2007 at 3:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2007 at 9 a.m.
Thursday, Jan. 25, 2007 at 3:30 p.m.
A = High priority
B = Mid-level priority
Project Description Priority
1. Flash Education Piece on Food Bank – PROBLEM – The general community does not A+++
understand the emergency food bank system in Utah. They do not understand that there
are nine independent regional food banks, and they do not understand the important
difference between food banks, food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters. With
understanding the community can better support their local food banks. PROJECT –
Create a flash educational piece that helps the viewer to know about the emergency food
network and the differences between the different components of the system. We will
want to use the piece on our web site, on other websites, on CDs, etc.
See http://www.foodbanksofutah.org for the definitions.
2. Home Buyer Education – PROBLEM – Fewer people are signing up for our free home A++
buyer education classes. More home buyers are seeking information on line rather than
learning in a classroom setting (which has been proven to be much more reliable and
helpful in the home buying process). Web search engines do not list our home buyer
education information. PROJECT - Develop and implement a few ways to increase the
likelihood that search engines will list our home buyer program when people search
3. Hunger – PROBLEM – We have very successful food drives throughout the year and A
are able to assist thousands of families with the donated food. The food bank also requires
financial support to function. PROJECT – Recruit local churches to have an ongoing cash
donation program to donate food, non-food items and/or cash to the food bank (i.e. adopt
the food bank). Perhaps it would be a “Take Out” Hunger campaign by collecting change
in a Chinese food take out box once a month. Perhaps it would be a once a month special
collection of non-food items (i.e. September is toilet paper month; October is bath soap
4. Food Bank Inventory Database – PROBLEM – We currently have a quality Access A++
database to record our food bank donations which exceed 1.5 million pounds annually. It
is tracked by type of food drive, where the food came from, etc. The food bank staff are
not trained in the full use of the database nor are we using it to its full capacity to benefit
our program. PROJECT – Do an analysis of the current program and work with the staff
to improve upon its utilization.
5. 40th Anniversary – PROBLEM – 2007 is our agency’s 40th anniversary. Our B+
Communications Team is developing events and more to carry out in 2007. We would
like capitalize on this anniversary. PROJECT – Develop and implement one strategy to
inform the community about our 40th anniversary.
6. Marketing to Volunteers – PROBLEM – Many hundreds of volunteers assist us in the A
food bank. The warehouse area where they volunteer has a great deal of unused wall
space. PROJECT – Work with Communications Team to develop and implement displays
on the walls of the warehouse to communicate key messages. Must correspond with
7. Youth Arts Month – March – PROBLEM – One of the agency’s target publics in our A++
public relations plan are youth in high schools. March is Utah’s Youth Art Month. We
want to tie into this celebration and use this to highlight poverty and our 40 th anniversary
in some way. PROJECT – Create an approach and packet that the staff and student group
can take to the high school(s) to recruit this approach to participating in Youth Arts
Month. (For example – the teachers could give the agency’s 40th anniversary theme about
poverty to the students to create drawings depicting the theme. We would have a special
display of these drawings in our lobby in March.)
See http://www.uaea.nebo.edu/yam.html to learn more.
8. Holiday Food Drive – PROBLEM – From October through January there are many A++
dozens of additional businesses, church groups and schools that hold small ongoing food
drives for the food bank. Our staff and small fleet of trucks are stretched way beyond
their capacity to pick up donations of food and to make the necessary deliveries to food
pantries during this time. PROJECT – Develop a volunteer recruitment program to recruit
and supervise stable community volunteers to utilize their own vehicles to pick up small
amount of food donations from businesses, etc.
9. Community Volunteer Project Ideas – PROBLEM – In the Fall we often have a long A+
waiting list of groups of people who want to come and volunteer to sort food and put
together food boxes in the evening and on Saturday at the food bank. We have very
limited capacity to make that happen. PROJECT – Work with the agency
Communications Team to develop multiple types of group and individual projects for
community members. We are losing a huge opportunity each time we have to turn a
group down or delay their helping us. We do have several opportunities listed on our web
site but we need many more.
10. Client Uncertainty about our Services – PROBLEM – We believe that our clients come into our A+
agency without understanding our services or how we may help them.
PROJECT – Develop and implement a display and PowerPoint presentation (or Flash) that can play
in the lobby describing our services and how to get help. Will work with Administration Team and
11. Home Buyer Education – PROBLEM – Mortgage lenders are not aware that home A++
buyer education can benefit their potential and existing clients to become mortgage ready.
Mortgage lenders are not aware of the agency’s partnership program. Mortgage lenders
are not aware that our home buyer class offers them free CE credit hours. PROJECT –
Develop and distribute a CD to mortgage companies, banks and credit unions about the
agency’s free home buyer education and counseling program.
12. Community Awareness – PROBLEM – The community is not aware of our services B+
or the needs of those in poverty in our communities. PROJECT - Create kits of activities
or lessons for cub scouts or older scouts (target the different ages) about hunger & poverty
for local troops to use in March during our annual Scouting for Food Drive.
13. Food Bank – PROBLEM – More than 65 schools hold annual food drives for the B+
Community Action Food Bank. Many have done so for many, many years. We do not
have an historical record of the school food drive. PROJECT – Work with the food bank
staff and school representatives to create a document that celebrates the school food drives
over the years.
14. Community Awareness – PROBLEM - The community is not very familiar with our A++
agency or the issues faced by low-income families. PROJECT – Identify and recruit
various businesses across the valley who have marquees to display specific messages for
the agency at different times of the year (announcing food drives, Hunger Awareness Day,
15. Clients – PROBLEM – We currently do not collect information about how our clients, A
donors or others hear about us or find us. PROJECT – Develop and implement ways to
help us find out how people find us.
16. Home Buyer Education – Real Estate agents are not aware that home buyer education A++
can benefit their clients to become mortgage ready. Realtors are not aware of the
agency’s partnership program. Realtors are not aware that our home buyer class offers
them free CE credit hours. PROJECT – Develop and distribute a CD to real estate agents
and their offices.
17. Community Assessment – PROBLEM – We have an interest in learning more about A
the issues facing specific target populations that we either are serving or should be
serving. In the article 7 Marketing Mistakes Every Business Makes the author describes a
way to very informally assess the opinions of a target group. PROJECT - Learn more
about what a specific target group feels about how they are doing, what they are worried
about, etc. Choose one of the following groups to work with and utilize the methodology
stated in the book. (This project can be done by four different student groups by choosing
a different target audience.)
- Married couples with children (30-40 years old) who have a moderate
- The working poor
18. Marketing to Clients – PROBLEM – In the article 7 Marketing Mistakes Every B+
Business Makes the author states that every business has a distinct personality that greatly
affects their success and ability to carry out their purpose. PROJECT – Assess how our
clients see us – help determine what the agency’s personality is for our. The material
clearly spells out a simple way to carry out this project.
19. Food Bank – PROBLEM – While we do pick up perishable food from most local B+
grocers on a daily business we are always in need of more vegetables and fruit. PROJECT
– Recruit a club on campus and work with the administration to plant vegetables and fruit
trees where there are currently flowers (in a small area as a pilot project). The club would
be responsible to gather the fruit and vegetables to donate to the food bank on an annual
20. Telling our story – PROBLEM – We currently do not have a way to easily capture our A
clients’ stories of success or how their lives were changed by working with the agency.
PROJECT – Develop and implement a way to capture their stories (maybe a tape
recording with a picture, video taping, written stories, etc.) so that they can be shared with
community leaders and donors.
21. Sharing Client Stories – PROBLEM – Our board of trustees do not have the A
opportunity to hear client success stories in a way that is motivating and which encourages
greater involvement. PROJECT – Develop and implement a client recognition program
where the board may recognize exceptional clients for their personal achievements.
22. Community Awareness of Poverty – PROBLEM - The community is not very B+
familiar with our agency or the issues faced by low-income families. PROJECT –
Develop and implement a special “Put Yourself in Their Shoes” awareness campaign for a
segment of the population (BYU students, UVSC students, …) A college back East did
this campaign. Students hung their shoes out their dorm windows on a specific day as an
effort to call attention to the needs of low-income families.
23. Quality Assessment – PROBLEM – Our program managers make periodic phone calls to B+
program participants to interview them about the quality of services they received. A more in-depth
assessment would be helpful, especially in our Family Development Program. We would like to
involve some board members in the assessment process.
PROJECT – Develop and implement a quality assessment tool and conduct interviews with a
sufficient number of program participants to test the tool. Present the results to the program
manager and team. We do have a sample used by another agency in another program.
24. Bartering Program – PROBLEM – Low-income families are faced with very difficult B
financial decisions daily. They often have skills that can be exchanged for goods or
services. PROJECT – Research successful barter programs in other parts of the country
and develop a business plan to develop such a barter program in this community.
25. Hunger Awareness Day, June 5th – PROBLEM – National Hunger Awareness Day A+
will be held June 5, 2007. The agency has accomplished limited activities on this day in
the past. Much more can be done. PROJECT – Develop and implement at least one
activity to promote National Hunger Awareness Day. See