"Ophelia" by John William Waterhouse.
In the play Hamlet, the character Ophelia meets her fate in the shallow waters of a brook, the victim of depression and a broken heart.
Taking its name from the Shakespearean tragedy’s maiden, the national Ophelia Project, which is headquartered in Erie, seeks to curbing bullying and in particular, relational aggression in children and adolescents.
For 10 years, the Ophelia Project has worked in Erie schools and after-school programs to provide students with the skills needed to counter bullying.
Their efforts wouldn’t be possible without the help of volunteers. Last year, local volunteers donated 20,000 hours to the Ophelia Project in a variety of roles.
The Ophelia Project is looking for volunteers of all ages for its mentorship programs.
The STAR program at the 10th and Holland Neighborhood Arthouse need volunteer mentors each Thursday at 3:30 p.m through May. The classes last one hour. Mentors can make a weekly or biweekly commitment.
The Girltalk program seeks strong, positive female mentors of all ages.
Lastly, Raps mentors are needed to volunteer at Diehl and Jefferson schools through June 1. Raps mentors should be college age or young adults.
Help out at events
The Ophelia Project is partnering with the Erie chapter of Mothers Against Teen Violence to host a Peaceful Solutions Workshop at the Henderson Methodist Church on East 10th Street on April 21 as part of Global Youth Service Day. Volunteers are needed to help run the workshop.
Another upcoming event is the project’s Strike Out Against Suicide and Bullying fundraiser, which will be held on April 15. Volunteers are asked to sell tickets in advance, work the event or even just gather a team and participate. The Ophelia Project is currently accepting prize donations.
Can’t commit to a mentoring or event volunteer position? The Ophelia Project is always looking for people to work in their offices doing clerical and cleaning work.
Donations of snacks for the after-school programs, A.C. Moore gift cards for program supplies and stickers are needed as well.
Lora Caldwell, volunteer services manager at the Ophelia Project answers that question with the story of her father.
Then 86 years old, he participated in the Take Back the City event several years ago by taking up a broom and sweeping Perry Square.
“Passersby said, ‘If this 86 year-old man can do it, I can give back too,” said Caldwell.
The Ophelia Project gives volunteers the unique experience of working closely with children and adolescents.
“You’re making a connection,” said Caldwell. “And you’re giving back to the community during time usually spent on Facebook or watching TV.
“You’re contributing instead of just sitting around.”
To get involved, contact Caldwell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo courtesy of Wikicommons