Each Thanksgiving, faculty, staff and students look for opportunities to say thank you throughout the community. Local organizations near campus appreciate any help they can receive and with Thanksgiving break arriving, there is no better time than the present.
Volunteer opportunities at nearby places, such as Boca Helping Hands, Palm Beach County Animal Control, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County and the Debbie-Rand Memorial Service League, are just a few options to help give back to the community.
“Volunteering to me means going out to somewhere where I would like to work and enjoying my time with the people I am working with, as well as making it fun for other people,” said Michael Oldaker, senior. “Working with kids is my favorite way to volunteer, such as being a coach or working at a high school or middle school.”
Boca Helping Hands, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing food, medical and financial assistance always welcomes faculty, staff and students to help package meals and carry them out to those requiring assistance.
Even for a few hours, volunteering with Boca Helping Hands provides satisfaction of putting a smile on the faces’ of those receiving items.
“Giving back here on [campus during] Thanksgiving really does match the sentiment of the season,” said Javier Arbona, junior. “The best part of volunteering is always the sense of gratitude that you can get and the fact that you can make a connection with a person; you still share that desire to make things better with people from all walks of life.”
Another nearby volunteering opportunity for those staying close to Lynn during the break is with the Tri-County Animal Rescue.
Volunteering with an animal rescue organization allows one to help walk the animals, clean up their homes, entertain them and help gain people’s attention of the organization itself.
“I think it is important to volunteer during the holiday season as it is always vital to give back to [one’s] community,” said Valerie DePauw, senior. “My favorite volunteer groups are those that give back to the less fortunate and soup kitchens.”
Students preparing to take their first J-term course, the Citizenship Project, may not be too familiar with volunteer opportunities nearby. Not to worry, as VolunteerMatch (http://www.volunteermatch.org) is a nonprofit website helping to bring together those interested in volunteering within the community and providing them with a plethora of selections to choose from.
“Find a program or organization that has meaning for you and connects to your personal values and beliefs. Then show up,” said Dr. Anthony Altieri, dean of students. “Give your time, your talents and your compassion to others. Those experiences benefit the recipient and community in a number of ways. Although, you may be the one that grows from experience if you truly give it your all.”
Those who are Interested in building and being outdoors can also look into South Florida’s local branch for Habitat for Humanity, an “organization that works to provide affordable homeownership opportunities for hardworking and deserving families.”
Those that take part in this opportunity will work with other interested volunteers in the construction of a home for a family in need, helping to build team leadership skills and employing teamwork.
All of these openings are available on a day to day basis, along with long term options for the dedicated that fall in love with giving back to their communities and those that live within it.
Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on all there is to be grateful for. Volunteering tells a community and its members in need that they are loved and respected by the people who surround them.