VCSC organizes Saturday of Service

Grace Berchem

Last weekend, the Volunteer and Community Service Center hosted January’s Saturday of Service event. Saturday of Service events are a one-time-only, three-hour volunteer commitment. They are put on once a month by the VCSC.

Past SOS events have included sites like Harbor House and Heckrodt Nature Preserve. Looking ahead, the February’s SOS will likely be related to fighting hunger. These service events increase awareness of community needs and give students the opportunity to help out at a wide array of sites.

As Kristi Hill, director of volunteer and community service programs, explained, “So many students want to volunteer, but not in an ongoing way. Saturday of Service is a way to get your feet wet without over-committing. It’s a chance for students to volunteer who wouldn’t otherwise.”

Asked about the importance of volunteering, senior Susannah Maiken, volunteer and community service events coordinator, said, “I think Lawrentians often get so caught up in the business of our schedules that we forget to take the time to help others. We are blessed to be able to have such an amazing education and all the opportunities that Lawrence offers us, so it’s important to step outside of our little bubble and give back to the community.”

Saturday of Service wasn’t the only event happening on Saturday. Twelve Lawrence volunteers were kept very busy helping a local family in need get their house ready to put on the market. Their time was spent cleaning, painting and fixing things up around the house.

Junior Emily Gibbons, the Lawrence student who connected the family to Lawrence, said, “The house was in a greater state of disarray than I had anticipated when we arrived, but we got a lot done in four hours, including wallpaper removal in the dining room, finishing drywall and beginning the mudding in the upstairs bathroom, and painting in the dining room, stairwell and two upstairs bedrooms.”

In hard economic times, more and more families are finding themselves in a position where they need to sell their homes; Lawrence volunteers were able to make this transition a little more seamless for at least one family.

The family was very grateful for the Lawrence volunteers and showed their appreciation with homemade chocolate chip cookies.

Additionally, a group from Trevor Hall volunteered their time at Saving Paws Animal Shelter. The group was led by their RHD and Volunteer Programs Assistant Ellie Crean and sophomore RLA Alysa Levi-D’Ancona. Since last term, Trevor has made this a weekly hall outing.

Volunteer activities include everything from playing with the cats, dog walking and cleaning, to helping the shelter move everything into their new facility. A training session for new volunteers will take place in the next couple weeks, so anyone who wants to get involved should look up Trevor’s Saving Paws Facebook group.

And still another group of volunteers spent a couple of hours on Saturday at Brewster Village as part of Glamour Gals. This is a new ongoing opportunity on campus organized by sophomore Tammy Tran.

Students have the opportunity to spend some time chatting with the ladies at Brewster Village and making them feel special for the day. Activities include painting nails and doing makeup, but even those who don’t consider themselves stylists are encouraged to volunteer.

With the cold and dreary winter weather, second term may just be the perfect time to volunteer. When you dedicate time to helping others, you not only brighten their day, but you also reap the benefits of a serious mood boost.

As Crean explained, “For a lot of people that aren’t connected to Lawrence, it’s good for your mental health to make those connections and help others. I think everyone gets a lot of satisfaction out of helping others, whether it’s for just three hours at an SOS event, or as part of an ongoing opportunity.”

The Lawrence community is dedicated to giving back, and there are all kinds of ways to get involved. Keep your eyes open for information on February’s Saturday of Service.

For even more on volunteering at Lawrence, visit the VCSC website, which is frequently updated with one time and ongoing service opportunities. No matter how much time you can commit, there is definitely something for everyone.