Civic Engagement Scholars lead programs that take place every week during the academic year. Over 200 of their peers participate, working with hundreds of community residents through partnerships with Kalamazoo Public Schools, youth leadership & arts organizations, food justice initiatives, health & legal advocacy groups, and government entities. All programs require commitment (of at least four hours per week), consistency, critical reflections, and a desire to build relationships. Select from the list below or scroll to view more information.
Young Adult Program
The Young Adult Program (YAP) takes place on campus every week and offers young adults (18-26 years old) on the spectrum opportunities to be themselves in a friendly and open environment. Each is paired with a K student & together the group plays in the gym, visits the cafeteria and the game room, and make art, music, & friends. This is a partnership with Young Adult Program at Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency (KRESA).
A passion for autism and neurodiversity! Each quarter, all K students in YAP must attend three mandatory reflection sessions. Consistent program attendance required.
Once a week. Email CES Grace McKnight for more details.
Volunteer positions available.
Community Advocates for Parents and Students (CAPS)
Community Advocates for Parents and Students (CAPS) is a grassroots, all-volunteer community organization that provides tutoring opportunities to KPS students who live at Interfaith Homes. The program, developed in response to the Kalamazoo Promise, meets at Interfaith Homes Neighborhood Network Center on the city’s north side, where it is open to resident children, Kindergarten through graduation, on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school, and on Saturday mornings. The program attracts about 20 children a week. It offers a structured but fun environment with relationship-based homework help, literacy and math support, field trips, and information about getting into colleges. Over 10 K students serve either as volunteers, through federal work-study, or in service-learning courses, working alongside community volunteers and Western Michigan University students.
All students, whether paid, volunteer, or in a course, must attend orientation and training sessions, complete appropriate paperwork, and attend reflection sessions throughout the term.
Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4pm – 5:30pm, and Saturdays from 10am – 12pm.
1037 Interfaith Blvd
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Volunteer and Federal Work Study positions available. Transportation is provided for K students. Please contact the CESs for more information.
Club Grub After-School Program
The purpose of the Club Grub program is “to empower students as citizens while they learn about the importance of food, from what they eat to where it comes from.”Program participants are seven to ten first-through third-grade students at the Woodward Elementary School, where Club Grub takes place.
In Club Grub, hands-on, tangible learning experiences highlight the importance of good nutrition, build food preparation skills from a young age, and introduce to different vegetables and fruit in a fun and meaningful way.
All K students must attend orientation/training sessions, complete appropriate paperwork, and attend reflection sessions throughout the term.
Tuesdays & Thursdays 2:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.
The Woodward School for Technology and Research
606 Stuart Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
2 – 3 K-student helpers, FWS and volunteer positions available.
El Sol Elementary
El Sol Elementary, a Kalamazoo Public School, offers instruction in two languages, English and Spanish. The program model is unique within the district and southwest Michigan. El Sol functions like a magnet school, accepting students from all parts of the district. According to its mission, El Sol students will attain high levels of proficiency in their native language and in a second language, meet or exceed district and state targets for achievement in all core academic areas, and demonstrate positive, cross-cultural attitudes and behaviors.
Working at El Sol as literacy and math tutors and classroom assistants enables K students to hone their Spanish language skills and learn more about local Latinx communities.
Work-study and volunteer positions at El Sol require a 201 level of Spanish fluency. Each quarter, all students attend a mandatory orientation/training session, complete appropriate paperwork, and attend mandatory reflection sessions throughout the term.
Times vary, depending on teacher/student schedules, usually between 9am-3pm Monday through Friday for the regular school day. The after-school program with Communities In Schools runs Monday through Thursday from 3:50pm – 6:20pm. The school is located a short walk from “K’s” campus in the Vine Neighborhood.
El Sol Elementary
604 W. Vine St.
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Volunteer and Federal Work Study positions available.
Goodwill Adult Literacy
The Adult Literacy Program is a partnership between the Center for Civic Engagement, Goodwill Industries, the Kalamazoo Public Schools Adult Education Program, and the Even Start Family Literacy Program. This free program provides tutoring to prepare people for the General Educational Development Exam (GED) and attain employment.
Every week, K students tutor adults in math, social studies, and reading, and provide support and encouragement.
Each quarter, all students attend a mandatory orientation/training session, complete appropriate paperwork, and attend mandatory reflection sessions throughout the term.
Depends on the K student’s schedule. Contact the program’s Civic Engagement Scholar for more details. Transportation is provided to and from the site.
420 E Alcott St.
Kalamazoo, MI 49001
Volunteer and FWS positions available.
Goodwill Adult Literacy Program Registration
CES Email: Alyssa.Norman18@kzoo.edu
Staff Email: Moises.Hernandez@kzoo.edu
If you are an individual seeking your GED and want information about enrolling in this GED program as a client, please contact Goodwill Adult Literacy: 269.382.0490 ext.229
Helping Youth Through Personal Empowerment
The HYPE (Helping Youth Through Personal Empowerment) program at the Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home strives to create authentic, reciprocal relationships and facilitate dialogue between youth and Kalamazoo College students. We design workshops to empower youth with knowledge and resources to be successful when they leave the Juvenile Home. K College participants reflect on issues of social justice within the criminal justice system such as the school-to-prison pipeline.
K students learn a great deal from the close relationships they forge with the youth and through lessons about the inequality of opportunity, the causes and consequences of violence, and the tremendous resilience of young people. The K students have sought to raise consciousness on campus regarding juvenile justice issues through lectures, films, and panel discussions.
HYPE began in 2005, when Michigan Campus Compact awarded a Venture grant to K sophomore Arianna Schindle and KCJH.
Each quarter, all students must attend a mandatory orientation/training session, complete appropriate paperwork, and attend mandatory reflection sessions throughout the term. To be a member of the HYPE group, students commit to the program for an entire academic year.
Fridays from 5-7PM, transportation provided by the CCE.
Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home
1424 Gull Road
Kalamazoo, MI 49048
Volunteer positions only, contact CESs for interview.
Just Food Collective
The Just Food Collective, originally “Farms to K”, was established in 2009 as a student organization and program of the Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Center for Civic Engagement that strives to provide education and awareness to our campus community about the importance of supporting a just, sustainable, and local food system. We seek to build relationships between the college and our greater community, to increase the amount of locally-grown food served on our campus, and to develop and support a local food system that fosters sustainable and humane agricultural practices, safe and fair working conditions, and food access for all.
- Weekly Meeting: Thursdays: 7 p.m. – 8 p.m., Dewing Community Room
- Hoop House Open Work Hours
- Tuesdays: 4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.
- Thursdays 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
- Contact CESs for times and locations for conferences, community partner engagement, planting, teaching, and other projects.
Various locations (on and off-campus). Contact CESs for details.
Volunteer positions available.
Kalamazoo County ID Program
A partnership between the KCID Advisory Board, Center for Civic Engagement, and Kalamazoo County Government. Kalamazoo College students are working with the Kalamazoo County Clerk’s office to assist people in obtaining an identification card, which extends the parameters of accessibility and belonging.
The Kalamazoo County ID program began on May 3, 2018, and it allows individuals to be recognized as members of the community, especially those who did not have a form of identification before the establishment of this program. More importantly, the Kalamazoo County ID enables individuals to navigate spaces that require a form of identification, such as banks and pharmacies. While this is a step towards increasing access to resources for individuals, it does NOT dismantle all barriers of accessibility and belonging but instead is the beginning of acknowledging the importance of identification.
- Tuesdays & Thursdays: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
- Shifts are 3 hours long during the office hours given above
Kalamazoo Administration Building
201 W Kalamazoo Ave., Kalamazoo, MI. 49007
We partner with the Kalamazoo chapter of Justice For Our Neighbors (JFON), “a ministry of hospitality that welcomes immigrants into our communities by providing affordable, high-quality immigration legal services, engaging advocacy for immigrants’ rights and offering education to communities of faith and the public”. Additionally, JFON also provides legal services for immigrants with annual earnings less than 200% of the poverty threshold. Students’ role at JFON can be that of an interpreter (speaking proficiency required), or in the departments of intake and/or child care (background check required).
This program was initially established by Frank Powers (K’02) and Bronson Pediatric Oncology to provide interpretation services for Spanish-speaking families & their children undergoing treatment. Subsequently, we partnered with the Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies (KCMS) now part of Western Michigan University Homer Stryker MD School of Medicine.
This program gives K students the opportunity to interact with members of the Kalamazoo community, broaden their views, improve their skills, and advance immigration rights.
Proficiency in a languages needed for translation, as a heritage speaker, through traditional courses, or a study abroad experience in a language immersion program. Bilingual/bicultural students are strongly encouraged to apply.
Interpreting is on an as-needed basis (more information can be provided by contacting the CES).
JFON Clinics are located at the First United Methodist Church of Kalamazoo.
212 South Park Street, Kalamazoo, MI. 49007
Students are able to walk to JFON (about one mile from campus).
Volunteer positions available.
Students For Reproductive Freedom
The Students for Reproductive Freedom is a group that works with the Kalamazoo College and larger Kalamazoo community to achieve bodily autonomy and safety from violence for everyone. We hope to provide a space for all people to face injustice with unapologetic joy, celebration, and hard work.
Projects: Sex Education Fair, “What Does Feminism Mean To You?”, and a Prison Abolition Discussion.
Swim For Success
We offer swimming lessons for local children three evenings a week. In a partnership between the City of Kalamazoo Parks and Recreation and Kalamazoo College, over 20 K College students are involved in the program, which provides tutoring onsite for one hour followed by swimming lessons.
The partnership intentionally recruits KPS students whose families have traditionally lacked access to swimming instruction. The K College students help increase the number of Latinx and African American children who know how to swim, and also learn more about the barriers that have historically prevented children of color from attaining this critical lifelong (and lifesaving) skill.
Coaches are required to have some swimming knowledge (can be basic) and tutors should have prior teaching or coaching experience. All participants are required to attend all orientations/training sessions and reflections (3 per quarter). Students are also expected to make and honor a weekly, quarter-long commitment to tutoring and/or coaching.
- Tuesdays & Thursdays 5:30-7:30 p.m.
- Tutoring 5:30-6:30 p.m.
- Swim lessons 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Kalamazoo YMCA Pool 1001 W. Maple Street, Kalamazoo, MI. 49008
Volunteer and federal work study positions available.
Swim For Success Program Registration
Please contact CESs for more information.
CES Email: Tony.Dougherty17@kzoo.edu
CES Email: Stephanie.Rauhoff17@kzoo.edu
Staff Email: Moises.Hernandez@kzoo.edu
Parents and families interested in registering their children for Swim for Success: Please call the City of Kalamazoo Parks and Recreation Office at 269.337.8191 or visit their “Programs” page for more information.
Woodward Elementary School
The goal of the Woodward program is to engage Kalamazoo College students in the broader community of Kalamazoo through direct collaboration with students at Woodward Elementary School, a K-5 boundary magnet school located just two blocks from K. Kalamazoo College participants in the Woodward program are interested in addressing issues surrounding educational equity and social justice in Kalamazoo Public Schools, and provide opportunities for Woodward students to engage in additional academic enrichment programs and possibly influence their decision to attend college.
K students can work alongside Woodward staff in classrooms during Daytime Program, can assist staff in the cafeteria, playground, and Lunch Clubs during Lunch/Recess Program, and/or provide general support during After-School Program. Each participant in the Woodward Program commits three or more hours a week throughout a 10-week quarter, and participates in additional reflective exercises on K’s campus.
We began our partnership with the Woodward school in 1997, which to this day remains our most complex partnership. Every year, Woodward’s 350 – 400 pupils welcome over 125 K students in critical service-learning courses, about 30 volunteers, and 40 earning federal work study.
Each quarter, all students attend a mandatory orientation/training session, complete appropriate paperwork, and attend three mandatory reflection sessions throughout the quarter.
- Literacy tutors: 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. depending on student and teacher schedules
- Lunch/Recess: 11:00 a.m.-1:50 p.m.
- After-school program: 3:00-5:30 p.m.
606 Stuart Ave.
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
Woodward School is in walking distance from Kalamazoo College.
Volunteer and federal work study positions available