Homeport Volunteer Profile: Chelsea Somers

Bio: I am from San Diego and I've been living in Central Ohio for about five years. I graduated from Capital University and I studied early childhood education and special education. I'm currently a reading teacher at Rosemore Middle School in Whitehall City Schools.

How did you hear or learn about Homeport?

A friend saw a job posting for a camp coordinator for Homeport two summers ago, and she thought that I would like it as soon as she saw the description. I applied and got an interview and I've been in love with Homeport ever since!

Why did you choose to be a volunteer? What did you expect and did your expectations match reality?

Chelsea Somers

Chelsea Somers

After my first summer being placed at one of Homeport's properties called Marsh Run, I knew I couldn't be finished with my work at Homeport. I was in love with the kids I had met and I had such wonderful co-workers, and I wanted to continue my work with the kids throughout the school year. I worked with Homeport Program Specialist Mark Childs to start a small teen programming at Marsh Run and just continued to volunteer with those kids throughout the year. As soon as summer camp rolled around the next year, I was employed again, but this time I was placed at George's Creek. After camp ended, I also worked with Homeport Volunteer Manager Morgen Wade to start teen programming at that site as well. I saw so much potential in the teens in that community and such a lack of resources that I couldn't just walk away without being a volunteer for them. So throughout this past year I have continued to volunteer whenever possible to see my kids.

What has been your most meaningful experience as a volunteer at Homeport? 

My most meaningful experience as a volunteer was when we finally got approval to take our George's Creek kids off-campus to go bowling for a fundraiser with the Homeport Young Professionals. Morgen and I had been dreaming and working towards getting them permission to go somewhere on a "field trip" and when we finally got to take them bowling, it was a dream come true! It was so cool to see the kids out of their normal environment, interacting with all kinds of people, making memories on a trip that Morgen and others had fought so hard to get for them. I just was lucky enough to go along for the ride and watch them have fun!

What have you learned about the need of affordable housing?

I was completely ignorant about the lack of affordable housing in Central Ohio and across the country before working and volunteering with Homeport. The families and children that I worked with every day were so deserving of affordable housing- they worked hard to provide for their children and they wanted so badly to provide for them, but when there's a lack of affordable housing options that are also safe and that have access to good schools, some people are put in really tough situations. Through Homeport, these families have good options. And they also are provided access to youth programming and social services. Those things are so valuable to our families.

What would you tell a friend who was considering getting involved with Homeport as a volunteer?

I have recruited many friends to become volunteers with Homeport and I would absolutely continue to tell more people to do so. I would tell my friends that there are people in Central Ohio who just need access to services that we take for granted and it's easy to help out- just be there to smile and laugh with their children and to make them feel like their community is a community that they want to be in.

Chelsea Somers, second from left, at George's Creek for Teen Leadership Night in May

Chelsea Somers, second from left, at George's Creek for Teen Leadership Night in May