The agency, which offers instructional sports programming to bolster athletic and social opportunities for kids with special needs, has had 90 UMSL education student volunteers since its collaboration with the college began.
TASK Volunteer Manager Paul Kraus presented the award at the College of Education’s Community Agency Project Fair at UMSL.
“Those UMSL students were the cream of our crop,” Kraus said, “and made an unbelievable difference in kids’ lives.”
Senior Director of Clinical Experiences and School Partnerships Stephanie Koscielski accepted the award on behalf of the college.
Koscielski helped start the CAP Fair in 2013 in an effort to have more organized networking and spur more field experiences. She believes that volunteering for community education programming is important for education majors.
“This helps them gain education experience outside the classroom and shows them a foundation for what is offered beyond becoming a teacher,” said Koscielski, who also noted that Bachelor of Educational Studies majors find the fair particularly helpful.
The BES degree offers students an education degree geared toward careers outside the traditional classroom.
Since the CAP fair began, Koscielski has seen an increase in student participation beyond the students in clinical experience education courses, which require 20 to 30 volunteer hours, depending on the course.
Many students have taken their volunteer experiences and translated them into jobs, like BES alumna Kayla Colona. Colona volunteered for the Mission: St. Louis’ Beyond School program and now serves as its volunteer manager.
“I sat here five years ago and was a UMSL student,and now look, I’m working where I volunteered,” said Colona, who gave a quick pitch to students to volunteer at Mission: St. Louis.
In total, students heard from 13 agencies, including Beyond Housing, Community Living, Inc., Girls Inc., Mathews Dickey Boys and Girls Club, Mission: St. Louis, Salvation Army Music, The SoulFisher Ministries, The St. Louis Children’s Choirs, St. Louis Arc, SUCCEED, TASK, YMCA and Youth Learning Center: The Biome.