By CAROLINA BARBA, Staff Reporter |
Volunteering and civic engagement are declining among teenagers and young adults according to a study from the University of Maryland’s Do Good Institute.
At Amarillo College, however, many students participate in volunteer work either on their own or for a class.
“I usually only volunteer when it is assigned for a class, but I always try to help my community when I can,” Guadalupe Teposte, a pre-nursing major, said. “For example, I had to do community service for my psychology class at AC and I went to the Food Bank where they were so welcoming.”
Teposte said she was grateful for the requirement. “Volunteering makes me feel like I’m making a difference in my community and this makes me feel good,” she said, adding she probably wouldn’t have made time for volunteering if it weren’t for class.
“I try to volunteer on my own will, but I don’t as much as I would want to because of the amount of time I put into school and work,” she said.
Preston Thipaphay, a pre-med major, said community engagement is a required part of his participation in the Presidential Scholars Honors Program.
“Presidential Scholars requires us to participate in three out of some school activities, which can be anywhere from community service, to a play performed at AC,” Thipaphay said. “They also help us get involved with the community and connect us to attend several volunteer opportunities.”
Thipaphay said he has volunteered at places such as the Downtown Women’s Center Thrift Store and the Eveline Rivers Christmas Project. “I do it to get connected with the community and to help make a difference,” he said.
Required volunteering is a good way to teach young people the importance of community engagement, according to Nancy Ramirez, a regular volunteer at Snak Pak for Kids. “It rarely comes from their own free will,” Ramirez said.
When high school and college students volunteer for classes, the often discover that they enjoy participating in their community.
“Back in high school I was involved in clubs where community service was a requirement. That is when and how I found out about the Eveline Rivers Christmas Project and ever since then I love to volunteer there when time allows me to,” Teposte said.
AC Student Life provides a list of local community service opportunities and hosts regular volunteer events.
To learn more, go to https://www.actx.edu/studentlife/volunteer-opportunities-and-service-learning.