GVSU connects students to service opportunities

GVL/Paige Platte
Students met with representatives from various volunteer organizations during Thursdays Non-Profit Fair

Paige Platte

GVL/Paige Platte Students met with representatives from various volunteer organizations during Thursday’s Non-Profit Fair

Paige Platte

The Non-Profit and Volunteer fair filled the atrium of Henry Hall last Tuesday.

From education to environmental organizations, the non-profit causes pulled at the heartstrings of students with all different passions.

Service coordinators from over 55 organizations from Grand Rapids and even across the state expressed the importance of serving others. Their common theme of service delves much deeper than any one cause; it’s about doing what you can to help foster positive change in the community and the world.

Becca Benjamin, volunteer coordinator for Hospice of Holland, stressed student involvement. Hospice of Holland provides in-home care and companionship for the elderly.

“We’re looking for young people to get involved in our program, working with the elderly you hear so many stories and gain so much wisdom,” Benjamin said. “By giving up a little bit of your time you can gain a lot,”

Recruiter and Parent Liason of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program Lisa Puente said the program provides the opportunity to be an influential role model in someone’s life.

“It is about social interaction, but it’s also so much deeper than that,” she said. “The Big Brothers and Big Sisters have such a huge impact on the lives of their little sibling in the program. The program provides a positive relationship and helps the children to look forward to a positive future.”

Many of the organization and company representatives highlighted how serving others makes you feel good on the inside.

“It’s not about me or I it’s about us, it’s about bettering the community. Helping just one person is making a difference,” said Marrilee Chamberlain of Grand Rapids Initiative for Leaders.

Chamberlain works with teenagers in the Grand Rapids area and said one of the most gratifying moments for her is when teens in the program are able to realize that even small things they do to help can have a big impact.

Serving a small amount of time now can also largely set apart a resume later.

Undergraduate intern Aubrey Duman with laker leadership and the community service learning center advised fellow students that “Service experiences both in and outside your career field helps you to become a more marketable.”

“Serving in a variety of fields helps us to become well rounded individuals which is something to aspire to,” she added.

“The American Red Cross has a partnership with GVSU so students are able to donate blood throughout the year as well as volunteer at the events,” said Sarah Laue, regional service coordinator for the American Red Cross. Laue’s passion for service was not limited to the American Red Cross.

“Life is a service; discover what motivates you and give back there because chances are you’ll motivate someone else too,” she said.

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