Project Gold

Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you. ~Mother Teresa

“It’s impossible to help others without being changed by it.”

Project GOLD is an initiative in the College of Education at West Liberty University matching students interested in volunteer work and service learning with non-profit organizations in the tri-state region. After selecting the organization from our list of community partners, the students commit to a semester of volunteer work; the students are concurrently enrolled in a 3-hour credit course in the College of Education requiring they document and reflect upon the experience.

EDUC 478: Community-Based Learning
Credit Hours: 3
Course Instructor (coordinator): Dr. Keely Camden
Course Requirements:
1. Volunteer Commitment of 60 Hours (these hours can involve a multitude of different activities)
2. Completion of required time sheet
3. Completion of a reflective journal of the experience (may need to interview the program director)

  • What is the history and mission of the organization?
  • What population of the community does the organization serve, and how has the organization positively impacted the community?
  • What are the challenges that face the organization, and what are current projects and initiatives underway?
  • Describe and explain the role you played in the organization. What particular projects and work did you undertake? What aspects of the work did you enjoy the most and why?
  • Discuss the challenges facing the individuals served by the organization. What have you learned related to their experiences as a result of this project? What have you learned about yourself as a result of this project?

At all times, students will maintain professional and collegial behaviors appropriate for the work place. These behaviors include appropriate language free from profanity and discrimination, limited or no cell phone usage, professional dress, friendly interactions with all individuals, and prompt and reliable attendance. Failure to meet professional expectations will result in a removal from the placement and a failure of the course.

Brooke County Historical Museum & Culture Center

1. What is the history and mission of the organization?


  • We are committed to protect, preserve and present Brooke County artifacts dating from 1788 to the present.
  • We record and preserve the contributions of all cultures to our American society.
  • We seek to partner with individuals and organizations to develop creative and innovative newsletters, cultural programs, activities, projects, and events to enhance, highlight, and share our multicultural heritage and history with the public.

Brooke County was founded in 1797. The original county museum was set up in an annex of the courthouse in 1969. In 1975, the Brooke County Commission appointed the Museum Board to oversee the growth and development of the county museum. During that same year, the museum relocated to 600 Main Street, formerly the historic Millers’ Tavern.

County Museum
During 2010, the Brooke County Museum Board of Directors and Commissioners recognized that the museum had outgrown its facility and they searched for options. With assistance from a W.V. Department of Culture and History grant, combined with funding from various private citizens, the former G. C. Murphy building, 704 Charles Street, was purchased by the Brooke County Commission.

County Commission
Within walking distance of the Brooke County Historical Museum and Culture Center, is a log house, a 2003 special project of the Museum Board.

1788 Wells Log House and Marker  

1788 Wells Log House and Marker

What population of the community does the organization serve, and how has the organization positively impacted the community?

  • The organization serves not only visitors from all across the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia, but we interact with fellow museums in the tri-state area. We have large number of visitors from Ohio and Pennsylvania.
  • Our goal is to bring to life history for the general public and provide our youth with an innovative supplement to their formal education.
  • We promote economic development through tourism, cross-market area businesses, and preserve the ancestry of our region.
  • The organization provides a great developmental opportunity for people of all ages who wish to learn more about the history of their family, school, business, or heritage.
  • The organization provides tours for area schools and visitors to the area. The curator, Ruby Greathouse, has also been utilized as a guest speaker for civic organizations, clubs, and schools.

Organizational Challenges:
Key challenges include:

  • Funding and general grant writing resources
  • Current customer survey
  • Expanding an online presence – we have a basic web site and have now expanded to Facebook, but the implementation of other technology based applications would be awesome, e.g., iPad based information on the history represented in each display.
  • Youthful Volunteers – we would like to develop more programs that appeal to youth so that we can develop “leaders of tomorrow” for our organization and the region.
  • Programming – development of an annual program that appeals to a broad range of age groups.

Organizational Roles & Sample Projects:
We have a board of directors that has distributed the workload, e.g., finance, programming, publicity, special projects, facilities maintenance, operations, acquisitions, culture, safety, gift shop/hospitality committees.

A major special project, chaired by Ruby Greathouse that was initiated this past year is the Military Patriots Book for Brooke, Hancock, and Ohio counties. This project shall need a variety of talent 4th quarter 2014 through 2nd quarter 2015, including: interviewers, photographers, editors, typists, etc. The first book shall be published Memorial Day 2015. This project offers many spin-off opportunities for programming, etc.

We have a public relations committee, chaired by Joan Simonetti, which developed a web site which is information based. David Holden, a WV Northern student and Board member, recently helped us to expand our internet presence to include Facebook. Youthful team members could assist us with web site maintenance, pre program publicity, etc.

Programming and Culture is another key area that assists us in educating and informing the public of our heritage, history, etc. We’ve planned and presented a variety of programs dealing with such subjects as: special Olympics, civil war, West Virginia’s birthday, high school madrigal choir, 200 years of glass making, grand opening of the military patriots project, etc. Youthful volunteers could assist us with planning and presenting programs that have a broad-based community appeal.

We have filmed each one of these programs and have started to develop DVD library of these events which could also be a venue for fundraising.

A simple gift shop has been developed, but could be expanded as a business development opportunity. We cross market other local businesses, such as a maple syrup production business called “Family Roots Farm”, Bloom’s Antique business, etc. In addition, an internet based “store” could expand revenue generation for the organization.

Historical documentation of each of the displays is another key opportunity area; this would require a person to interview current staff and research the period, developing a capsulized summary of the history associated with each display. This could be integrated with iPads (if we could get some of this technology) and by placing each iPad at a station; an automated system to support tours and education could be developed.

Special note: we are handicap accessible to the general public and also have two wheel chairs available for use.

Organizational Challenges & Opportunities:  

  • Display information: As mentioned earlier, information on each display is communicated by a well-informed person who is knowledgeable of the history and the components of the display. This could be automated and be less labor-intensive than it is right now.
  • Center for Family Culture: The community is just beginning to view the museum as a place to congregate and hold social/education events. For example, WVU Extension Services held the reception for their president at our museum this past year. We want the community to think of us as a “living museum”, a center for social gatherings, educational meetings, and cultural events. We have started to build that this year and need to carefully expand the marketing of this community benefit.
  • Expansion: We are already at the point that we could consider expanding to the second floor. We need the resources to assist us in determining all of the key requirements to support this expansion from fire/safety code requirements, contractors costs, and space utilization ideas for “best use”. Architectural, business, and arts students could assist us with this project.
  • Museum Administration: There is a lot of work that goes in to the development, maintenance, and growth of a community museum. This is a great forum for training volunteers and students to consider occupations in the museum administration/curation.
  • Marketing and Publicity Features: We could utilize a variety of creative resources to assist us in marketing all of the different displays in our museum by developing special feature articles in area news publications, print materials, and web site, e.g., feature a month series and/or mystery of a month, Native American series, military history series, etc.

This would be a great challenge to the persons developing this strategy but a wonderful way of informing the community of what the museum offers them. The promotion efforts could encourage the community to visit the museum to uncover the mystery or come view our museum display, get the answer to the mystery question, and become eligible to win a prize.

I. PAWS 21st Century After-School Learning Program
The goals of the PAWS after school program include: increasing math proficiency, increasing reading literacy, building character and promoting positive youth development, and engaging families in our area. The goals of this program will not only be helpful to the students we serve today, but these positive characteristics we are instilling at the PAWS program will help to build more effective members of our society and that affects YOU!
Hours of Operation: 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Types of Volunteer Activities: homework help, snack/recess help, read aloud to students
Address: 410 Normal Street Hopedale, Ohio 43976
Facebook Page:
Contact Information: Morgan Heavilin, Program Director
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: 740-424-7333
School: 740-942-7550

II. Team Mojo Foundation
501c3 nonprofit youth organization established in 2010, covering the local tri-state area (OH, WV, PA). By way of financial assistance, we help K-12 (school-aged) children be able to participate in activities and events they otherwise wouldn’t be able to.
Hours of Operation: n/a- no physical location, operate through phone, text, email, social networking, solely through Executive Director’s home office
Types of Volunteer Activities:   Periodic fundraising events and activities
Address: P.O. Box 44, East Liverpool, OH 43920-5044
Facebook Page:
Contact Information: Bill Crawford, Founder & Executive Director
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: 330-386-3939

III. Y Not Repeat Boutique in the YWCA
Housed inside the YWCA in downtown Wheeling, the Boutique is open to the public and offers new and gently used donated women’s clothing.  The Boutique is a completely volunteer-run organization. With a referral from a social service agency, women can receive 5 free outfits. The YWCA Wheeling is a member association of the Young Women’s Christian Association. With more than 25 million members in 122 countries, the YWCA is the oldest and largest women’s organization in the world designed to empower women and eliminate racism.
Hours of Operation: Monday through Friday 10:00am to 5:00pm
Types of Volunteer Activities:

  • Sort and steam new donations
  • Hang and display new donations in boutique
  • Assist shoppers with the selection of outfits and appropriate shoes/jewelry
  • Assist with Dress for Success workshops (and other empowering workshops)
  • Create new signage for the Boutique
  • Assist with fundraisers for the Boutique
  • Take pictures of new items for social media

Address: 1100 Chapline Street, Wheeling, WV 26003
Facebook Page: Y Not Repeat Boutique – YWCA Wheeling, WV
Contact Information: Rhonda Hayes, Program Director
Phone: 304-233-0511
Interested students must first schedule an interview with Rhonda Hayes at the YWCA. This opportunity is only open to female students.