08172018 Headline:

Students learn value of community service

Volunteer opportunities range from animal shelters to zoos

By Michael Loughran

Steph Glasscock poses with a dog while volunteering at her local animal shelter.
Photo courtesy of Steph Glasscock

Summer is an opportune time to volunteer for great causes throughout the local community. There are many options to choose from, ranging from volunteering at local animal shelters, to running community camps.

Volunteering builds character, and allows students to experience working for a charity or other well-intentioned organization; Katie Carper, the counselor at RAHS, emphasizes the importance of volunteering.

“Volunteer work is important for communities and for students because it provides them with real world experiences and helps to build a sense of community,” said Carper. “It can also help with college applications, particularly if students make a particular impact in their field of volunteering.”

Students often take Carper’s advice, applying themselves to charitable work that makes meaningful changes to their community, and bolsters their college applications. Felix Bosques, an RAHS junior, has volunteered for various causes throughout his community since freshman year.

“I volunteered at Cascades Camp as a camp worker and counselor in training, and it taught me a lot about how to work with children,” said Bosques. “It also taught me responsibility through camp maintenance and activities.”

Felix was able to learn skills that are important for young adults, and gain valuable experiences with responsibility. These skills were not the only benefits he felt from his volunteering efforts.

“It is important to volunteer because you’re helping out the community in a way that helps everyone out,” said Bosques, “and through volunteering you learn more about yourself as well.”

Other students volunteer by cleaning parks, and doing other public service to benefit their community. This both helps local communities, and satisfies graduation requirements. Some students, like junior Braeden Swanson, even volunteer abroad, contributing to the global community.

“I’ve volunteered domestically, in the Dominican Republic, and for multiple causes,” said Swanson. “It is easy to help out when you know of good opportunities, starting at school and in the RAHS community.”

Braeden has volunteered for numerous charities, and has gained valuable experiences from her work. Through her experiences, she has learned the importance of public service.

“Volunteering is important because reaching out to people who need your help not only helps those people but gives you a better understanding of how to hold yourself, and how you interact with people,” said Swanson.

There are several ways to volunteer this summer, many of which are in the local community. Alyssa Ryser, a senior at RAHS, has volunteered at the Zoo for 4 years, contributing to her community by assisting with various duties involving the zoo’s wide variety of animals. Steph Glasscock, a junior at RAHS, recommends volunteering at a local animal shelter, a job that she has been doing for three years.

“We always need more help with the animals, and it is very important that we are able to keep them nourished, walked, and taken care of,” said Glasscock.

Although volunteering at these institutions may be too large of a commitment for most students, there are other, more accessible ways to volunteer.

“Many students volunteer over the summer, through church groups, community service organizations, and many environmental works,” said Carper. “The important thing is that students find volunteer work that they enjoy, as it will make the experience much more rewarding and doable. Find something you’re passionate about, and volunteer.”

Students can look online, talk to friends, or speak with a counselor about what opportunities are right for them. 40 hours of community service are required to graduate, and summer offers the best opportunity to rack up the hours.

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