Categorized | Features

Volunteers help “rake a difference” in Wooster community

Interview by Sally Kershner ’19, a
Features Editor for the Voice (Photo

On Saturday, Nov. 5, the Wooster Volunteer Network (WVN) hosted its annual volunteer program Rake-a-Difference in Wooster, Ohio. Creating a way for students to volunteer and connect with the community, WVN hosts Rake-a-Difference so that students get to know the residents of Wooster through the simple and helpful task of raking the leaves on their lawn.

“Rake-a-Difference is an opportunity for students of The College of Wooster to give back to and form bonds with Wooster residents by going out into the community and raking the lawns of the campus’ neighbors,” said Kate Longo ’18. “WVN starts organizing Rake-a-Difference several weeks before it happens. We table and put up posters around campus to advertise it to Wooster students. About one week before the event begins, we walk all of the routes that we plan on raking and pass out fliers so that the community is aware of the event.”

About 300 fliers were passed out this year, and while not everyone who received a flier needed help, the volunteers raked about 100 to 150 lawns in Wooster.

“120 Wooster students came to Rake-a-Difference this year and totaled over 250 hours of volunteer service. The majority of students who participated were students in a Greek organization, but many students also volunteered with their friends or came as individuals and were able to meet people they normally wouldn’t interact with,” said Longo.

Rake-a-Difference is layered with opportunities for students because it enables many unusual connections to form between other students and residents of the community.

“It is important to continue this program because it exposes students to the Wooster community and helps them to form connections with Wooster residents. Rake-a-Difference is a great way to ease tensions between Wooster residents and students because it shows that the students do care about the community in which they are living. By volunteering off campus, students are exposed to the real Wooster and are able to learn more about the place where they are living for four years,” said Longo.

For the past seven years, Rake-a-Difference has been working towards building these connections and clearly shows how volunteering is a positive act that creates a ripple effect within the community. While volunteering, a student can be exposed to different beliefs, ideas and backgrounds, a staple experience on which the College prides itself. It is important to engage in these volunteering opportunities because of how much it can educate someone, especially in a place like Wooster where differing opinions can cause tension. Even though raking a lawn may sound pretty simple, it creates a large impact on the community as a whole.

WVN will be hosting two more service Saturdays this semester: Nov. 18 and Dec. 2. There will also be an informational meeting for WVN’s spring break service trip to West Virginia on Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. in Lowry 119.

If students would like more information about upcoming volunteer events or be added to the WVN listserv, they can email

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