Volunteering is a priceless gift

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During the holiday season, I volunteered at the George E. Wahlen Veteran’s Affairs hospital in Salt Lake City. The tasks were simple enough. We put together presents for hospital patients that included a fleece blanket, letters from school-children, candy and other small items. Then, we were assigned to specific parts of the hospital for delivery.

I’ve never volunteered before and wasn’t prepared for the impact it had on me. Afterward, I felt like a weight was lifted from my shoulders. I was no longer burdened by the consumer-driven holiday we call Christmas. It felt good to give back, because that is what the holidays are about: family and community. Now, instead of rushing around buying gifts for Christmas, I plan to volunteer and give the gift of service. I encourage everyone to volunteer at least once in their lifetime because it will change you and your perspective.

Lucky for those of us interested in volunteering, our campus provides students with volunteer connections to local organizations. The Volunteer and Service-Learning Center has resources for students looking to expand their resume with leadership skills, or for those who want to give back to their community.Students can get involved by registering for service-learning classes.

Your shot at graduating with a completed project to put on a resume is much higher, said Summer Valente, director of volunteer and service-learning.However, students don’t have to register for special classes to volunteer with the VSLC.

The center partners with several organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the Special Olympics and local food drives.We have opportunities on campus for students to volunteer as well. Out in our front lobby we have the service bar that has different activities. Students can also volunteer at the campus food pantry or during VSLC zone activities, said Valente.

These are just a few of the opportunities for students to get involved, but it doesn’t stop at UVU. If there is a cause or organization you support, take time to volunteer with them.

Local volunteer organizations include Neighborhoods in Action, the Victim Assistance Center or your local Parks Division.The holidays have ended, but the chance to give back has not.

I urge you, dear reader, to take some time out of your busy schedule and volunteer with an organization that suits you. There are plenty of opportunities around campus and your community, so get out and give back.