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Caring For Cubs Club Makes Regional Impact Through Volunteerism

Posted November 30, 2023 at 10:06 am

Morgan Dugan, an Assistant Professor at Pennsylvania Highlands Community College, started the Caring for Cubs Education Club in 2018 with the hopes of showing how much helping those in need and volunteering can impact others. 

Though it did not dive into volunteer work right from the start, Dugan has developed the Club into one of the biggest outside interest groups at the College, while gaining major support from her Early Childhood Education students, faculty, administration, and the public. 

“When I was a child, the people in my community helped me and my family greatly,” Dugan stated. “I learned at an early age that we as humans are made to connect and help one another. The Caring for Cubs Club helps our students see beyond the four classroom walls that they will be teaching in. They get to experience the impact that people have on one another. It also helps our college students understand how we are all connected in this world, while giving them job opportunities, especially when they discover an authentic interest in one of our volunteer events.” 

The Club is active for the entire College’s academic year – August to May. Students enrolled in either an Early Childhood Education or Education major are automatically added as members of the Club but are free to help as much or as little as they want. 

While teaching at both the Richland Campus and Ebensburg Center, Dugan has gained interest from students at both locations. Club members have even made and sold bracelets to raise money for Suicide Prevention at the Ebensburg Center. 

There are currently 77 active students in the Club. 

“The Club has had many impacts on my life already,” stated Olivia Cavallo, a freshman Education student based in Ebensburg. “It grew me closer to my classmates who have the same passion for teaching that I do while doing the volunteer work that we do. I also love how we get involved with helping kids around our community. Some of the things we do bring the biggest smiles to kids’ faces. That is awesome to see.” 

Members of the Club are involved in many events throughout the year, ranging from literacy events to food drives to helping plant flowers in Downtown Johnstown. 

This past March, the Club traveled to local elementary schools to read children’s books to kindergarten students and complete a literacy activity as a part of Read Across America Week. Students also took part in a Thanksgiving Food Drive, sponsored a Christmas event at the Women’s Help Center, and did regular partnerships with the Cambria County Backpack Project over the last year. 

These activities also assist the students when completing their degree, as they must have accumulated 50 volunteer hours while working with children before transferring to a four-year school. 

“Participating in the club allowed me to meet new people, give back to the community, develop leadership skills, and make memories,” stated Olivia Grant, a 2023 graduate of the Early Childhood Education program. “I am glad I was part of this club. It was so much fun.” 

Dugan uses a bulletin board near her offices at the Richland Campus and Ebensburg Center, and posts online, to communicate volunteer opportunities for her students, with the events list spanning a month. 

She also posts job opportunities for students to obtain while earning their associate degree. 

“This is a great way to get our students out into the field to gain experience working with children before they even complete their degree,” Dugan stated. “While doing this type of volunteer work, they can see how the community is connected and build social skills necessary for leadership. Volunteering truly is a skillset, and we learn something new every time we do it.” 

Caring For Cubs Club participating in a Trunk or Treat in downtown Johnstown (October 2023).