Defiance College Students Pay It Forward to Aid Area Homeless

December 13, 2021

7 social work students, 2 directors of Pillars of Success, and Professor Alesia Yakos-BrownDEFIANCE, Ohio -Students from Defiance College's social work Macro Practice class conducted their annual Pay It Forward initiative during the fall semester. The course directly impacts community needs by awarding financial assistance. This year, eight seniors in the class awarded $1,600 to PiLLars of Success - an organization that helps homeless individuals and families find transitional housing in Henry County.

PiLLars of Success plans to use the money to purchase home survival kits. The kits often contain such items as: first aid supplies, thermometers, plungers, sewing kits, home tools, cleaning supplies, and more.

"Our kits allow people to have home essentials without having to take money away from the rent," says Linda Krauskopf of PiLLars of Success. "For families in poverty, most of these supplies in our home survival kits would be last on their shopping lists."

Barb Hoffman adds, "We teach the families to use the kits as well. People simply assume that adults have skills they may not actually have. For example, if you have never been taught to use a sewing kit, then the kit would just go unused."

For 12 years, the DC class has awarded nearly $25,000 to address needs of transportation, hunger, unemployment, poverty, education, youth mentorship, and cultural understanding in northwest Ohio. With steps embedded in the curriculum, students conduct a five-county community assessment, prepare requests for grant proposals, send RFPs to various non-profit social service agencies, and award grants to applicants that best address the identified community need.

Originally, this project began in 2008 with funding through the Pay It Forward student-led philanthropy program led by Ohio and Kentucky Campus Compacts, and later with the support of the Women's Giving Circle of Defiance. In recent years, the class has raised its own funds through a number of events such as raffles, bake sales, campus activities, and donation solicitation.

This semester, Drop Zone Pizzeria played a significant part by selling pizzas to help fundraise. In a wonderful form of collaboration, many of the pizzas were created by Ayersville High School National Honor Society students.

Chartered in 1850, Defiance College is an independent, liberal arts-based institution in Northwest Ohio offering more than 40 undergraduate programs of study as well as graduate programs in education and business. Defiance College has received national recognition for its educational experience of service and engagement. The College is guided by the four pillars of its mission: To Know, To Understand, To Lead, and To Serve. The College website is