GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV)-Volunteering offers essential help to people in need, yet a student who volunteers their time can benefit just as much. Volunteering allows students to connect to their community and make it a better place. Even helping with the smallest tasks can make a real difference to the lives of people, animals, and organizations in need.

“Any little bit a volunteer can give helps the community. Any volunteer time makes a difference,” – Stacey Doran, transition specialist.

Lakewood MOCI students are giving back by volunteer one day a week at Manna’s Market. Students are not only giving back to their community but gaining valuable employment skills. Students learn to follow directions, take initiative, work as a team, learn new skills, and build confidence and self-esteem. Lakewood MOCI students volunteer their time at Manna’s Market one to two hours a week. For school-aged kids, volunteering builds social skills and develops awareness for their surroundings and their community. Volunteering can additionally help students improve their job search post graduation.

Mary Murry, MOCI teacher, said, “Students are gaining great work experience in giving back at Manna’s
Market. It is a well-oiled machine. Students are given jobs, each one knows what to do and comes right
in and gets started.” Students are gaining work experience and building their resumes while helping
their community.

The primary goal of a MOCI program is skill acquisition. These skills range from the traditional academic
skills of reading, writing, and math to transition skills of pre-vocational training and participation in
community experiences.