Volunteering Through UGAEdit
The Athens community provides many opportunities for volunteering and becoming involved in various aspects of the local society. TheUniversity of Georgia provides opportunities for students to volunteer in a variety of programs aimed at meeting the needs of the Athens community. Specifically, the University offers involvement in fifty-seven organizations that range from the arts, education, healthcare, and housing. These are available for all University of Georgia students to allow them to become a part of volunteer services (Student Organizations). My focus is to help inform incoming freshmen or anyone else, about a few of the most well-known and popular volunteer organizations.
The first organization called Volunteer UGA is a student run organization that links the University of Georgia community with the surrounding Athens community. UGA Volunteer has been one of the most recognized volunteer organizations for thirty years (“Volunteer UGA”). The organization aims to promote growth in the community through student leadership and providing service. To become a member of Volunteer UGA organization there is a membership application required to be filled out and turned in. To become a member you must go through training on how to develop leadership skills, manage fundraising, and various other tasks to help provide the best service skills necessary (“Volunteer UGA”).
Shop with a BulldogEdit
The second organization is also a student run volunteer organization called “Shop with a Bulldog ” (SWAB). This organization is focused on service and mentoring through volunteering time to help underprivileged children in the Athens community during the holiday season. To become a member of “Shop with a Bulldog” an application is required which is then followed by an interview. This year the number of membership applications was almost double the number received last year. Shop with a Bulldog's membership director, Jodi Murphy, stated, “As an executive board, we are excited to announce that our membership has increased from 240 mentors to more than 400” (“Shop with a Bulldog”). After the volunteer members are chosen, they are required to attend a mentorship session to teach the volunteers how to interact appropriately with the children and how to be positive role models. The membership evaluation is thorough and taken seriously to enhance the quality of leadership and to produce the best mentor volunteers.
Members are required to raise a minimum of fifty dollars through fundraising and request financial support by sending out support letters. After an interview with freshman, SWAB mentor, Kailey Carroll, she expressed her plan to raise money, “I plan to raise fifty dollars by sending out support emails to family members and other people who would be willing to support me. Also, I plan to go downtown and take part in “canning”, which involves bringing a bucket downtown so that when people walk by they will see I am raising money for Shop with a Bulldog and hopefully be generous enough to donate"(Kailey Carroll). SWAB also pairs members together to work as partners to help raise money and take an underprivileged child out shopping. Once all the technicalities are in place, it is finally time for the SWAB volunteers to take their child out shopping. On December 3, the SWAB mentors are able to take the child that they have been assigned on a holiday shopping spree with the money they raised. This is the highlight for both the students and their mentor child. This organization is a great way for students to give back by becoming a mentor for a child and raising money to take their child shopping and make the holiday season a little more cheerful for them (Shop with a Bulldog).
Habitat for HumanityEdit
The third organization that is great to get involved in is Habitat for Humanity. Founded in 1976, Habitat for Humanity International has grown to be recognized and established in over 100 different countries (“Habitat for Humanity: The University of Georgia”). Habitat for Humanity strives to give hope and provide housing for those who cannot support themselves or don't have a place to live. The University of Georgia's Habitat for Humanity webpage states that, “They [Habitat for Humanity Internationally] have built more than 300,000 homes worldwide, housing more than 1.5 million people.” The process that determines who will receive the Habitat Homes is extensive. First the families must apply and show a legitimate reason for help. They are then selected by a combination of their level of need, agreement to want to become partners with Habitat for Humanity, and their willingness to pay back the loans (“Habitat for Humanity: The University of Georgia”). In addition, the selected families are required to volunteer at least 500 hours of their personal labor into the construction of their home, some other family’s home, or by attending seminars on how to finance or how to maintain a home. The UGA Habitat for Humanity chapter is now building their tenth house in their fourteenth year of volunteering. The UGA chapter promotes and follows the four pillars: Building, Advocacy, Fundraising, and Educating (“Habitat for Humanity: The University of Georgia”). To become involved in UGA Habitat for Humanity, students are required to complete an application form. This is an easy way for UGA students to become part of an International organization that is promoted by the University of Georgia.
End Note: Volunteer!Edit
The best way to get involved in campus life as an incoming freshman at the University of Georgia, is by volunteering time to help others in the local community. There are so many ways to give back and volunteer time and service to those who need it most. It is extremely important to give back to the community because it helps to create a new level of appreciation for your own life, while at the same time it gives you an empathy, understanding and respect for people whose circumstances and lives are different. These are only three of the multitude of volunteer organizations offered through the University of Georgia. It is clear that the Athens community has great a need for willing volunteers and the University provides many opportunities that allow students to become involved in volunteering and to the communities many needs. For many students, this involvement as a student volunteer becomes the catalyst that ignites them to a lifetime of service to others.
"About Volunteer UGA." Volunteer UGA. University of Georgia, n.d. Web. 26 Oct 2011. <http://www.uga.edu/cls/students/programs/vuga/about.html>.
Emary Bryant. “File:US Navy 100605-N-6466B-141 Master-at-Arms 2nd Class James Avery helps with the construction of a new home while volunteering with Habitat for Humanity.jpg”. Wikimedia Commons. Web. June 5, 2010.
"HomePage." Habitat for Humanity: The University of Georgia . University of Georgia, n.d. Web. 26 Oct 2011. <http://www.uga.edu/habitat>.
"Home Page." Shop with a Bulldog. University of Georgia, 10 July 2011. Web. 26 Oct 2011. <http://www.swab.uga.edu/index.html>.
Interview with Kailey Carroll. October 19, 2011.
"Student Organizations." Center for Student Organizations . The University of Georgia , n.d. Web. 25 Oct 2011. <http://www.uga.edu/stuorgs/find/index.html>.
"Volunteer-Hands”. Web. http://www.catalysths.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Volunteer-hands.png