Final day to volunteer for community-service projects

Student Voluntary Services offers different programs for students.

Whether it be to rake leaves or teach children, today is the last day for students participate in Student Voluntary Services' Volunteer Fair.

"There has always been a fair of some sort to encourage students to get involved," said Daniel Stallings, director of Leadership and Service Learning. "It has evolved through the years with technology, but (it) still serves the main goal."

The fair will continue until 5 p.m. Thursday in the SVS Office, located in Student Center L-19. According to Stallings, SVS is expecting to enlist 800 to 900 volunteers at the fair. SVS manages a total of 2,000 volunteers annually who work about 95,000 hours.

"The Career Center finds that students who take part in these activities develop social and speaking skills and experience a new environment," Stallings said. "Employers recognize the extra effort."

A line of students filled the office Tuesday, gathering information on volunteer activities they found interesting. Others used the computer lab to fit their volunteered hours into their academic schedule.

Sophomore Chrissy Romine, an elementary education major, volunteered for the organization Moving our Minds. She said she'll be teaching elementary students to read better. Freshman Marissa Nowak, also an elementary education major, will be tutoring kids in Yorktown Middle School for four hours a week.

"This will give me a chance to gain on-site work experience," Nowak said.

Besides tutoring children, Stallings said SVS offers an array of annual activities. Volunteers rake leaves for the elderly in the fall, buy gifts for needy children in the winter and collect food and clothing in the spring.

According to Stallings, three separate programs are available for students. Both the Coordinated and Referral Programs are for the semester. The Coordinated Program, however, uses groups, whereas Referral Programs is for individuals. Short-term Programs are for one-day events.

"I have helped supervise and make crafts with children at the Children's Museum," said graduate assistant Wes Stayton. "I was with the same group of 14 to 15 people every week. It is a great opportunity to meet new people."

Any student can apply, but certain volunteer options have limitations. Some require criminal background checks, and others require volunteers to be in good health. There is no fee to apply, and transportation may be provided. There are no minimum hours needed to volunteer.