by Chelsea Zachary
Have you ever wanted to be a superhero? If you answered yes, then consider making a difference by becoming a volunteer.
This month, there are many opportunities to help in the community through Pensacola State College.
For those interested in working with children, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. For Change group and the Pensacola State College Volunteer Center are searching for students to help teach anti-bullying awareness to K-5 students at the Pathways for Change Family Center. The program will run from Jan. 14- 17. If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact the Volunteer Center at 850-471-4552, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Volunteer Center on the Pensacola Campus in room 510A, building 5.
A more hands-on way of helping is available in working to restore the Carver Community Center for Children. This opportunity consists of improving the center by painting the classrooms and halls of the facility. The Restore Carver Community Center project will take place on Jan. 21, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. If you are interested in participating, contact Derrick Chamberlain at 850-471-4552 or email email@example.com .
The EscaRosa Coalition On the Homeless is looking for 150 volunteers to help with the annual 2013 “U Count” Point In-Time Homeless Survey, which will help determine the needs and the extent of the local homeless population, including sheltered and unsheltered men, women, and children. Pensacola is ranked as one of the communities with the highest concentration of homeless veterans. Using the information gathered, the ECOH can better aid and serve these individuals within our community, match their needs against applicable programs offered in the community, and fill the gaps of any needs. The opportunity will take place over 24 hours beginning at 10 a.m. on Jan. 23. There is no experience required to volunteer in this event and training will be provided. Volunteers can serve two-to-four-hour shifts at local soup kitchens, churches, food pantries, and other locations where homeless assemble. If you are interested in being a part of this volunteer opportunity, please contact Serene Keiek at 850-232-9548 or visit www.ecoh.org.
Students interested in making a one-on-one difference should consider becoming a Peer Mentor or an Academic Mentor through Project REAL. Project REAL is a community and college based program which offers young adults with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to experience college life on campus while learning self-determination and social and employability skills. Peer Mentors will meet and guide REAL students at the Pensacola Campus, encourage them to participate and experience college life and campus activities, and serve as a positive role model for the students. Academic Mentors will meet with REAL students on the Pensacola Campus and help them study, navigate course materials, and review coursework. Being a Peer or Academic Mentor through Project REAL requires the volunteers that participate in this program to be a United States Citizen or Permanent Resident who is 18 or older without a felony or a criminal record. Volunteers must be a student, faculty member, or employee at Pensacola State College, and must be available for a minimum of 5 hours a week, Monday through Friday each semester. Volunteers are also required to have a minimum cumulative GPA of a 2.5, and have successfully completed a minimum of 12 college credit hours. If you meet the above requirements and are interested in this opportunity, please contact Bobbie Harrison at 850-469-5316 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those interested in volunteering on a regular basis can join the Student Volunteer Council. The next meeting will be held on Jan. 30 at the Pensacola Campus at 3 p.m. in Building 5, room 509.
Remember, while volunteering benefits individuals who need help and the community as a whole, it also benefits the individual who volunteers. By volunteering your time and efforts you gain valuable experience that you will be able to put on future job and college applications. Volunteering also enables you to network and meet new people, all while helping others and improving your community.