Students, clubs give back to the community
For their annual Christmas service project, members of the California Scholarship Federation chapter volunteer at the Community Food Bank, Dec. 11. Many other individuals on campus have been serving this holiday season.
As the winter season progresses, red- and green-colored gifts begin to appear under the Christmas tree. Festive music is often played and fresh-baked treats give off a warm, sweet aroma. During this time, some families have already begun to open their piles of presents.
Even though the season seems to proclaim joy, peace and happiness to everyone on Earth, the fact is often forgotten that others are not so joyful, peaceful and happy. Some people consider this season to be one where their financial hardships put a strain on providing for their children.
To assist those who are struggling, senior Kelsey Hart volunteers at the Evangel Home, while also dedicating her free time to making blankets for others.
Her charity extends past the winter season, however, as she has volunteered for MOCHA (Museum of Children's Art), a summer program which teaches children about art. In addition, most of her Wednesdays and Sundays of the year are spent teaching children's Sunday school.
"At MOCHA, I usually help children make arts and crafts," Hart said. "I have a passion for kids, and I've been a Sunday school teacher since I was 12. [Because] this month is basically about Christmas, I'm trying to put on a Christmas performance with the kids playing different parts in the play."
Even with the stress of school, college admissions and extracurricular activities, Hart tries to find opportunities to help the community. Hart says that seeing the expressions on the faces of those she helps makes up for her lost time.
"When you get to see the person you're giving it to and watch their expressions, it just make you so happy," Hart said. "It [volunteering] gives you more experience and fun. Where I get all this stress from school, the children relieve it. [Right now], children are in a point of their lives where they are always happy. They are your futures, so invest in them."
Serving at the hospital
Junior Victoria Hindes is a volunteer for the STARS (Specialized Training for Adoption Readiness) program, through which students can volunteer to spend time with children at Children's Hospital Central California.
"I volunteer once a week for two hours, and have been for a year and a half. I work in the playroom, which is basically a room filled with toys, movies, video games and a playground," Hindes said. "During this season, the hospital is decorated and the people are more cheery. My first reason was that I wanted to volunteer; the other was that I wanted to see if I like the medical field."
"I think that people should volunteer and get out of their world and actually try to give back. Lots of people just want to sign checks, but seeing what others go through makes you realize that what you have is more important than you think it is." --Kelsey Hart, '11
In addition, volunteering at the hospital has given Hindes a greater sense of how fortunate she is in life.
"I get the joy of helping someone less fortunate than me," Hindes said. "Even though I might just be holding a baby for a mother, it brings me joy to be doing it not just for myself. If I was in that situation, I would want someone to help me out too."
Hart's devotion to the community has given her a more appreciative attitude toward her own possessions, she said. In addition, she now encourages others to volunteer in the community
"I think that people should volunteer and get out of their world and actually try to give back," Hart said. "Lots of people just want to sign checks, but seeing what others go through makes you realize that what you have is more important than you think it is."
Hindes says that volunteering at the hospital instills humility, and that community service in general should be done with a compassionate attitude.
"I think to volunteer you have to be in the right mindset, instead of just lifting yourself up," Hindes said. "When I see the smiles on their faces, I just feel warm and fuzzy inside, which sounds so cheesy, but it's true."
Clubs spearhead projects
This holiday season, clubs are encouraging others to serve through donations or acts of service. The California Scholarship Federation chapter, Spanish Club and Planeteers Club are collaborating on a coat drive, which ends Dec. 17.
CSF also volunteered at the Community Food Bank, Dec. 11, for their Christmas service project. To benefit the Evangel Home, publications students have been collecting money, which will be delivered on Dec. 19.
For more coverage of community service, read the Dec. 10 article, Clubs collaborate on coat drive.