As students, it can be hard to find the time to go out and volunteer within your community. Luckily, Fontbonne University has various resources you can find on their website to help you find the right organization for you. Fontbonne’s volunteer opportunities webpage includes labeled options, such as seasonal and long term. These colder months and the holiday season call for many trends and traditions, but we sometimes forget that getting in the holiday spirit should include helping others who need it. Kayla Winkler, a Service and Community Engagement Graduate Assistant at Fontbonne, has wonderful insight I wanted to share with you all, to show how to get involved on campus.
Photo credit: Kayla Winkler
Speech-language Pathology Graduate Student
Service and Community Engagement Graduate Assistant
Fontbonne University; email@example.com
How did you get involved in Service Saturdays and what exactly do your duties entail for these events?
“Service Saturdays are monthly events with local organizations to showcase different volunteer opportunities available to students in the St. Louis area.” Kayla said the organization determines the type of service involvement that is required, whether it be direct, indirect, or advocacy service.
Can anyone get involved to start volunteering, through Fontbonne? If so, how exactly do they start the ball rolling for their involvement?
“Yes! Service involvement is encouraged for every member of the Fontbonne family! Look for flyers around campus, follow “fontbonnesjc” on Instagram and “Fontbonne Service and Justice Coordinators” on Facebook, and email firstname.lastname@example.org… If someone is interested in leading their own service project/working with a specific organization, he/she should consider joining the Service and Justice Coordinators- a student group who leads local service projects based on their volunteering interests.”
What is the most rewarding part of volunteering of these experiences for you?
“I find the community/relationship building piece the most rewarding part of doing service. Serving others is most impactful when you get to know the person/group of people you are serving’s story. It makes the experience much more meaningful as you are able to relate to the person/group and understand their needs.”
On top of Kayla’s superb suggestions, the following options are also accessible for volunteers of different ages, including Fontbonne students, looking to help their community. Outlets like Buzzfeed have quizzes to take to also help you determine what opportunity would fit you best. Here are my suggestions:
St. Louis Area Foodbank: Their volunteers donate nearly 44,000 hours of their time to fighting hunger. These hours are spent moving food out of their warehouse into the community, serving 26 counties in Missouri and Illinois. Organizations like this are extremely important no matter the season.
Food Outreach: Their various volunteers give more than 50,000 hours each year to improve the lives of impoverished men, women, and children living with cancer and HIV/AIDS within our community. Food Outreach has many different opportunities to get involved, including recurring and one-time project volunteer opportunities.
Humane Society of Missouri: This popular organization has been making a difference since 1870. There are multiple options for volunteering for people under 18 and beyond. You can walk dogs, work on kennels, and assisting on a ranch. These colder months may require more indoor work, which is necessary and always appreciated.
Actions truly speak louder than words and finding the perfect volunteer opportunity is rewarding for all those involved. If you are unavailable to volunteer, donating is a superb option to help your community. Nonprofits often rely heavily on donations to keep running, so donating any amount helps immensely! This season, The Humane Society of Missouri has a 2018 Holiday Drive to Save Lives. Finding the right option for you is easier than you think, and Fontbonne is a good resource to explore, including contacting people like Kayla Winkler. If you are a commuter student like me or leave the St. Louis area to go home for the holidays, a simple internet search can help you locate a local nonprofit in need of help. Organizations are constantly looking for volunteers, as they help keep the nonprofit running. The holiday season calls for help because people of all ages and demographics, along with animals, especially need support during these cold months. There is truly something for everyone, for those who need it and for those wanting to volunteer.