August 22, 2010
10-135

Kate Elliot
Communications Specialist

Get Involved! Volunteer with VSU

 

VALDOSTA -- Volunteerism fosters leadership skills, builds self-esteem and promotes a sense of purpose and community. Valdosta State University’s Office of Volunteer Services is dedicated to pairing students eager to make a difference with organizations in need of caring hands.

“Giving hope to others can be life-changing. When people realize someone else out there cares, it brings back their faith,” said Ann Lacey, director of Volunteer Services and Parents Programs. “Students who volunteer gain valuable skills, make new friends, and are more marketable to employers. Knowing that you are doing good brings an emotional and spiritual lift that comes from no other source, not money or fame.”

Students who serve are encouraged to fill out a volunteer service log, which can be printed at http://www.valdosta.edu/stulife/volunteer/documents/VolunteerServicesLog.pdf . Students present these forms to agency supervisors for approval, then return the form to Volunteer Services, which is located on the second floor of the Student Union.

Students who volunteer more than 25 hours a semester qualify for the Community Service Honor Roll; 50 or more service hours qualifies them for the Gold Honor Roll; and students who volunteer more than 100 hours will be listed on the Platinum Honor Roll.

In June, university’s presented its first volunteer service awards to two students in honor of their community contributions. Monique Byrd, who graduated in May, was honored with the Community Service Award for Excellence for her more than 225 hours spent serving 20 local agencies and campus efforts. Whitney Tutt, a senior studying business management, received the Senior Service Award for accumulating more than 100 volunteer hours. University service awards will be given out each year during the Student Awards Banquet.

“The awards were created to honor students who donate their time to service-related organizations in the Valdosta community and surrounding areas,” Lacey said. “Through the presentation of these awards, we hope to increase awareness of the benefits of service to both students and the local community.”

Lacey said students are welcome to volunteer for any number of service opportunities -- from mentoring and community development events to hospitals and food pantries. The office also encourages students to advocate for volunteer opportunities in addition to the current VSU-community service partnerships. For more information about VSU volunteerism, go to http://www.valdosta.edu/stulife/volunteer/ .

WAYS TO GET INVOLVED

Student Action Council (SAC): A student run organization that offers valuable experience in the area of volunteerism. The council consists of five committees: Public Relations, Special Events, Blazer STEAM, Homelessness and Hunger Awareness Week, and Adopt-A-Grandparent. Members of the board develop, plan and implement various programs for VSU's students, faculty and staff. All students with a 2.5 GPA and above are welcome to apply for membership.

Community Development: VSU has relationships with more than 14 organizations that promote healthy communities, including Break Bread Together, Habitat for Humanity, YMCA, Toys for Tots and the Pregnancy Support Clinic. For more information, go to http://www.valdosta.edu/stulife/volunteer/documents/Book2.pdf .

Nursing Homes: More than seven nursing homes in the area offer ways for students to share their energies with aging generations. Students help with parties and other events, and visit with residents who do not have family in the area. For contact information, go to http://www.valdosta.edu/stulife/volunteer/documents/NursingHomes.pdf .

Hospitals: Four hospitals in the area offer students the ability to visit with patients and assist with various tasks in a variety of departments. For more information, go to http://www.valdosta.edu/stulife/volunteer/documents/HospitalsandHospice.pdf .

Mentoring/Education: Volunteer Services has partnerships with a variety of education-based organizations. Students may work in K-12 education at a Valdosta City School, lead a Girl Scout or Boy Scout troop, or teach adults to read through Adult Literacy. For contact information, go to http://www.valdosta.edu/stulife/volunteer/documents/MentoringEducation.pdf .

Leisure: Have some fun volunteering with a number of exciting organizations -- from the Theatre Guild and the South Georgia Library to the Humane Society and Lowndes County Historical Museum. For more information, go to http://www.valdosta.edu/stulife/volunteer/documents/Leisure.pdf .

Social Service: Help sort food donations at America’s Second Harvest or drive patients to treatments for the American Cancer Society. The Haven, a women’s shelter, is also looking for volunteers to sort donations and advocate for residents. Go to http://www.valdosta.edu/stulife/volunteer/documents/SocialServices.pdf .

To learn about more ways to get involved, go to the Office of Volunteer Services website at http://www.valdosta.edu/stulife/volunteer/ , e-mail volunteer@valdosta.edu or call 229-249-4978.