To graduate, students must complete at least 25 hours of community service. While volunteering for school carnivals and other local businesses are a good way to cram in some hours, they do not leave a lasting impact on the community.
Volunteering is more than just something students have to do to graduate, it’s an opportunity to make a lasting effect in the community and help those in need.
Saint John’s Program for Real Change and the Seva Selfless Service are two of many volunteer programs who are making a change in the lives of others.
Saint John’s is a shelter to take women and children off the streets and help them to create a new life for themselves.
While Seva Selfless Service does many different things to help the community such as recently raising money for the Camp Fire victims, but they mainly focus on feeding the homeless.
Saint John’s Program for Real Change
Saint John’s not only provides emergency shelter to mothers and their children in need, but also has a free, year-long program that simulates real change in the lives of women and children who have become homeless. This non-profit organization works to remove families from the cycle of poverty and supply all the means necessary to recover from addiction and mental issues and work towards a new life, job and outlook on life.
“We provide more than shelter and food. We provide the ability to rise above devastating, negative elements and achieve job-readiness and self-sustainability. Entry into the program is limited, and each step is extremely rigorous. But those who see it through end up with rewarding, happy and productive lives for themselves, and for their children,” Saint John’s Program said on its website.
The program has 96 percent job placement after graduation and further proves the real changes that they are making to these individuals’ lives.
Organizations like these are a great way to donate your time and benefit the community, especially during the holiday season. Students have a required 25 hours of community service needed to graduate, and using them to help people piece their lives back together is important.
New volunteers and donations are extremely beneficial, as explained by employee Sue Cawdry, there are many opportunities to help such as serve meals, work with the children in the childcare center, sort donated items, and also many holiday opportunities like gift wrapping parties and the community can “adopt” a family as each family has a Christmas wish list.
“The homeless situation is getting to a critical stage, not only in Sacramento but throughout the state and in fact throughout the country. The solution for that is not just a bed, and a roof, and a meal but it is a program that provides these women and children with the tools that they need to lift themselves up and out of poverty and dependency to a life of self-sustainability,” Cawdry said.
The first step to volunteering at St. Johns requires a volunteer orientation and they have multiple dates available on the website. This is in order to protect the women and children who are living in the facility.
“Personally becoming involved, donating your time to interact with the women and children, and seeing what a difference your participation is making is so fulfilling; and the women and children are so grateful for all of the people who are investing their time to come and get to know them, and talk to them, and provide encouragement to them as they move through this journey of self-sustainability,” Cawdry said.
Most of us are privileged enough to be able to have a roof over our head and many opportunities to increase our education as we start on our journey towards our own future. However, some are not so fortunate and it is important as not only a high school but a community to help the women and children find their way back to a stable lifestyle.
Seva Selfless Service
Seva Selfless Service has been collecting donations for many different needs such as the Camp Fire victims, however they mainly focus on feeding the homeless.
Their logo is “Serving Humanity One Meal at a Time” as they weekly go to different overpopulated streets in Sacramento to feed the hungry. Not only do they feed the hungry, but they also bring coats, clothes, sanitary necessities and more.
Their Thanksgiving and Christmas tradition is to come out in the morning with piles of clothes and food for the people waiting in the long line.
“[Our goal is] to selflessly serve underserved communities without an agenda. We will achieve this by being united, inclusive, mobile and linking with like minded individuals,” Seva Selfless Service said.
As someone who has been volunteering here for the past five years, the experience is truly one of a kind. Having personal conversations with the people waiting in line and hearing their life stories is a huge learning experience. This gives perspective to the circumstances that put these people on the streets and makes me truly thankful for the things we all take for granted.
More information on upcoming events or how to donate can be found on their Facebook page.
There are so many ways this community can help the people in need around us and not just to get graduation hours. The appreciation given and knowing the lasting difference being made in someone else’s life is reward enough in itself.
by DAYA KHUNKHUN