At least 12.5% of Western Massachusetts residents are living below the poverty line, and that number is growing.
April is National Volunteer Month — a time that we celebrate the people who generously donate their time and talents to support their community.
Throughout the month, our dedicated volunteers will be sharing their experience with volunteering and reflect on how it has impacted their own lives.
Molly Crouser is the Civic Engagement Coordinator at Bay Path College in Longmeadow. She has brought two groups of students in since January, as part of the college’s program which teaches civic responsibility and citizenship through out-of-class activities with the community. The program is focused on raising students’ awareness of the impact they can have on individuals and the world around them.
As the AmeriCorps VISTA at Bay Path College, part of my work plan is to build, support and initiate service opportunities on campus. I initially contacted The Food Bank about volunteering because of their ability to hold a great amount of people for a day-long service event. I kept returning with more students because of the amazing work they do. At The Food Bank, my students have the ability to serve in a way that was meaningful for them and for the Food Bank. They are able to see the difference that their few hours of service are helpful to the organization. Through the educational pieces offered, they are able to learn about hunger and food justice in our region, a place where most of them call home. It is a significant experience for our college students and myself, and we are excited to continue volunteering for them.
Volunteering has made a huge impact on my life, in a very meaningful way. I find happiness in learning about social problems, and finding ways to solve the issues. My personal passions lay in food justice issues. So, being able to directly impact an organization that works to fight poverty through feeding the community is an amazing opportunity. I believe in a strong, vibrant and civically engaged community and volunteer work is my way of expressing that belief.
My favorite part of volunteering is the impact I make, and the influence it has on me. Through a symbiotic relationship, I feel as though volunteering provides me with a connection to my community and a stronger support system. The feeling of being part of something that is bigger than myself, while at the same time making a difference in someone else’s life is integral to my own values and beliefs.
For anyone who is considering volunteering, I would ask what are you passionate about and find a way to give back that is meaningful for you. Giving back time promotes civic responsibility, builds a professional network, helps build community resources and provides a space where people come together towards a common goal. Who wouldn’t want to? What’s stopping you?Comments Off
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