Social Change Ohio State serves as mentors to an underserved school by helping them through the Grow, Explore and Mentor program. Credit: Akayla Gardner | Lantern TV Campus Producer

The nearest grocery store to Trevitt Elementary School is an hour walk away. 

Because of this, Ohio State students want to mentor neighborhood children by starting a community garden and teaching them the importance of planting seeds. This is just one example of the work the group does with multiple central Ohio elementary and middle schools — and has been doing since 2014 — to encourage interactive learning. 

Students in Social Change Ohio State, a department within Student Life, have participated in Grow, Explore and Mentor, mentoring young students so they can improve reading skills and be introduced to the sciences through hands-on learning. 

Charity Martin-King, director of Social Change, said the program is tailored to the specific needs of the community it serves. 

“The reception of what Ohio State is doing in these neighborhoods is really strong. The families look forward to the students coming back,” Martin-King said.

Suhaib Abudulwahed, a fourth-year in neuroscience and Social Change ambassador, said the program represents Ohio State throughout the greater Columbus community and is making an impact on students in underserved neighborhoods in the area.

“It allows us to be role models and provide after-school programs that will benefit kids, instead of them going home to a place that may not be beneficial,” Abudulwahed said.

Abudulwahed said he has worked with the program for four years and has had the opportunity to see the continuous impact of his efforts with the program.

“Working with the same kids for so long, you become a part of their life in a sense and you build a connection with them,” Abudulwahed said. “You see them grow and see the difference you are making.”

Martin-King said in the coming years she is hoping to continue bridging the gap in sciences and literacy and expand the program as much as possible.

“I would love to see our volunteer base grow, our donor base grow and our income resources grow,” Martin-King said.

While working for this student group, students are making connections that improve the lives of children and also aid in their growth at school, Martin-King said.  

“The learning at Ohio State is not just what is happening in the classroom,” Martin-King said.

The Engaged Scholars logo accompanies stories that feature and examine research and teaching partnerships formed between The Ohio State University and the community (local, state, national and global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources. These stories spring from a partnership with OSU’s Office of Outreach and Engagement. The Lantern retains sole editorial control over the selection, writing and editing of these stories.