Read Me a Story

Lauren Martinez recorded a YouTube video of herself reading out loud.

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 12, 2020) — The collective force of UAlbany's massive Community and Public Service Program — with some 950 undergrads — is making life brighter for others during the stressful time of COVID-19.

The program through which students gain academic credits for volunteering in soup kitchens, food pantries and at charity events has found creative ways to move online even as many of its students have moved back home to complete the semester.

Freshman Lauren Martinez of White Plains, like many others in the course, has recorded a YouTube video of herself reading aloud two children's books, Too Young to Drive and Tar Beach. She is doing this so that young students at Sheridan Avenue Elementary School in Albany can hear these stories come alive.

This link, with its wide selection of stories and UAlbany student readers, may also be helpful for parents who just read their fourth story of the evening to their children only to hear them clamor for more.

Community service is important to her because it can touch the lives of so many people in a positive way.

The projects are varied and limited only by the student's imagination.

One UAlbany student has been volunteering in a health clinic and helping with packing PPE such as masks, gloves, and sanitizers to caregivers and health care providers, faxing out doctor’s orders, and making screening calls for COVID-19. Another handed out food at Griswold Heights, a public housing complex in Troy. A third student has been delivering groceries to older people for the past month.

"We have students who are tutoring younger siblings, running errands for elderly relatives, donating to a local food pantry, and drawing cards for those in nursing homes or for ill children at the Ronald McDonald House," said assistant director Jennifer Horn. "We added a photo essay assignment to Blackboard that asks students to complete stories and write about why it’s important to do community service during this pandemic, along with photos documenting their volunteer service."

For Martinez, making the transition to online classes and working and volunteering from home was not too difficult.

"However, it did make me appreciate UAlbany's lectures a lot more, as well as everything else that it has to offer," Martinez said.

For her at-home community service, she has tutored her cousin Justin consistently. "We have worked on writing and introductory Spanish. I also walked my neighbor's dog. I have also donated books to New Rochelle High School and cards to the nursing home where my grandfather is currently staying."

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciencesbusiness, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.