By: Monica Racicot

Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

It’s never too late to volunteer! I have been volunteering since I was in elementary school. Giving back to my community has always played an important role in my life. When I moved to Oregon from California for school, I made it a priority to continue volunteering my time, even thoughI knew it wasn’t going to be permanent.

My first week at OSU, I participated in the ‘Day of Caring’. I had the pleasure of spending my morning with the lovely Corvallis Fire Department, helping with chores around the station. What a way to start my year! I spent my first winter term, helping out at the Family Tree Relief Nursery in Albany. Family Tree is a community-based child abuse prevention program, providing early intervention services at no cost to high-risk Linn County families with children under the age of six. Once a week I assisted the teachers with classroom and outdoor activities for the kids. I enjoy working with kids so it was a fun experience for me.

The Center for Civic Engagement is a great resource on campus for finding local volunteer opportunities. Here is how they suggest finding opportunities with them:

Step 1:
Visit the Center for Civic Engagement in Snell 158, on their website or on Facebook. Choose a service opportunity, and determine the time period- ongoing or a one time opportunity.

Step 2:
Contact the Coordinator associated with that service opportunity or the Center for Civic Engagement main office email. A representative of the CCE will contact you with additional information.

Step 3:
Pick up a Signup form from the Center for Civic Engagement in Snell 158 (or you may print it out from our website by going to “forms” on the right-hand tool bar).

Step 4:
Get out and volunteer!

Step 5:
Complete the Signup form and turn into the Center for Civic Engagement in Snell 158(or drop in Center for Civic Engagement Drop-Box located outside of the center’s office).


The CCE also offers fun, “alternative Spring Breaks.” They offer 3 trips that focus on 3 different philanthropic areas. Signups are closed now, but to get an idea of what they are offering this year, you could go to Yakima, Washington ($120) and focus on community and cultural engagement, San Francisco, California ($350) and focus on hunger and homelessness, or Newport, Oregon ($240) for environmental restoration. Prices for the trips vary because of location, travel needed, meals, and what you’ll be doing. The Alternative Spring Break program enables students to immerse themselves in a new and different community to learn its historical, sociological, cultural and/or political background.  To find more information, visit their website.

Another way to spend your Spring Break giving back is to take a trip with Students Today Leaders Forever’s ‘Pay it forward’ tour. Here is their spiel-

All STLF College Pay It Forward Tours travel to six cities across the country over the course of nine days.  We will carry out a service project in each of those communities visited; work with a variety of organizations and social issues over the course of the week.  Through evening activities and reflection, the Tour is an opportunity to build meaningful relationships and learn about issues affecting communities across the country and your own.  Each Pay It Forward Tour consists of up to 40 students, is entirely student-led, and is open to all college students regardless of where they go to school.

This year, OSU is headed down the coast of California, helping in Eureka, Santa Rosa, San Jose, Arroyo Grande, Carson and the incredibly gorgeous San Diego. The cost of the Oregon State Pay It Forward Tour is $450.  That amount covers all travel, lodging, two t-shirts, 1 or 2 meals per day, and more.  This includes a $125 nonrefundable down payment upon registration, with the remainder due prior to Tour departure. Although funds are limited, financial aid is available and selected on highest need and order of submission. If you’re interested in this trip, visit their website.

If neither of these options tickles your fancy, you can sign up to be on the CCE email list serv, or follow their great blog to keep yourself informed about upcoming opportunities.

Volunteering is not only good for others; it’s good for YOU too. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, gain important skills and experiences that you will need later on in life; make connections that could lead you to a job or career, and help you stay active in the local community.

Next Day of Caring is September 19, 2012! Mark your calendars!



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