Fresno State students volunteer to raise awareness about hunger and homelessness. Photo Courtesy of: Food Recovery Network
As the holidays approach, individuals take the time to reflect about what they are thankful for and are often more willing to donate food, some of their time, and attention to those less fortunate. Because people are filled with the spirit of thankfulness and giving back, the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign against Hunger and Homelessness sets aside the week prior to Thanksgiving every year to sponsor the National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. During this week, more than 750 high schools, universities and community groups all across the nation unite to raise awareness about hunger and homelessness. This year, NHHAW will take place November 17th-22nd on our campus. Fresno State will be participating in NHHAW through the engagement of service learning classes, clubs and organizations in different events and activities to bring awareness to these social issues in the nation, California and the San Joaquin Valley.
Your participation in the National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week will not only help raise awareness for the community, but can help build your leadership skills as you collaborate with your friends, classmates and other student leaders. Collectively, we can work to eliminate the myth that hunger and homelessness are inevitable in our society and instead realize that ending hunger and homelessness is attainable.
I encourage you or your organization to participate in the National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. You might know someone who is affected by hunger or homelessness. You might know someone who knows someone who is affected by these issues. Regardless, think about why this week is important and the impact your service can have on our community.
What ideas do you have that can help raise awareness about hunger and homelessness?
If you cannot donate your time, what else can you do to end hunger and homelessness?
“Fresno County reported above the national average on hunger at 22% of families struggling with hunger. Geographically we live in the hub of agriculture that grows enough food to feed the nation.” - Fresno State Food Recovery Network
With such a great issue, many wonder: is there anyone doing anything about it? Well, great news! Our very own Fresno State Students have jumped on board and have become a chapter for the Food Recovery Network (FRN). Now partnering with Fresno State’s University Dinning Hall, local restaurants, and farmer’s markets, the FRN is helping people who are food insecure in the Fresno Community. Fresno State’s Food Recovery Network is proud to say we have recovered over 38,674 pounds of food to date. Amazing! Well, now it is your turn to jump on board. The Fresno State’s FRN will be tabling this Saturday, September 27, 2014 at the Health and Wellness fair on the Fresno State campus. Come to the event to learn more about FRN and several other heath and wellness initiatives.
Watch this short clip on Fresno State’s food recovery efforts.
Do you know any community restaurants that will be willing to partner with the food recovery network? Contact the Food Recovery Network at firstname.lastname@example.org!
– Ambassador/FRN Event Coordinator Evelyn
Join us for Spring into Service on March 22, 2014 from 8:00 AM – 12:30 PM!
Fresno State volunteers help revitalize Woodward Park during last semester’s Serving Fresno Day.
With triumphant Make a Difference Day and Serving Fresno Day behind us, we at the Richter Center joyfully look forward to the next one-day service opportunity, Spring into Service Day!
Volunteers can choose from one of these awesome locations/ projects:
- Planting and beautification of the group activity area at Woodward Park with Fresno PARCS
- Planting trees and shrubs on our Fresno State campus.
Fresno has a lot of critics, but with some positive attitudes and a little teamwork we can change that negativity! We of this under-appreciated Central Valley city are blessed with splendid sunshine, vibrant urban developments, rich and abundant fields of agriculture, and so much more. Everything we could ever need is right here. Most of us don’t have to worry about our next meal or finding shelter from day to day. We have a successful university full of bright minds just waiting to change the world. Fresno is home to amazing, dedicated, down-to-earth people, and we shouldn’t doubt its potential for a second. All it takes to recognize its beauty is a little optimism. I can assure you that community service is one of the best ways to guarantee this much-needed positive outlook.
Granted, there’s always room for improvement, and that’s just what Spring into Service is all about! The general consensus from our previous one-day service events was that although it was early on a Saturday morning, each and every one of us left our service project with feelings of accomplishment and camaraderie. We each became excited to watch our web of outreach unfold! Our goal at the Richter Center is to regenerate these positive vibes on March 22nd.
Let’s work together to spread an awesome message about our community! Let’s revitalize Fresno! Spring into Service Day will be a springboard for the Spring into Service Lifestyle: where we’ll work every day to make our home even better!
Join us! You are officially invited!
Visit the Richter Center website to register by March 19th; space is limited.
Which Spring into Service site are you most interested in and why? What do you hope to gain by participating in Spring into Service?
Fresno State students have fun working together to raise money for Children’s Hospital Central California at a previous Kid’s Day.
It’s that time of year again; the flowers are in bloom, the birds are chirping, and the sun is driving away the chill of winter. The signs of the changing season are everywhere, including on the streets of Fresno where volunteers will be gathered in mass on Tuesday, March 5th armed with newspapers and friendly smiles in hopes of raising money for Children’s Hospital Central California.
It’s quite an inspiring sight to drive through Fresno on a Tuesday morning and see volunteers gladly giving their time and having a lot of fun in the process! I highly encourage you to join your peers next Tuesday as they sell special editions of The Fresno Bee. Join the volunteers throughout the valley who will be braving the brisk morning air to stand on street corners and sell copies of the Kid’s Day newspaper.
At Fresno State, Kid’s Day is big deal. Last year, the students, staff, and faculty of the University collectively raised over $36,000 for Children’s Hospital Central California. It is absolutely extraordinary that the Fresno State community is so willing to give of their time for this worthy cause!
Richter Center Ambassadors arrive to campus at dawn to help distribute papers to student clubs and organizations . We love seeing how excited our peers are to get started selling papers in order to raise money and awareness for Children’s Hospital Central California!
As a Richter Center Ambassador, it is my duty to convince my peers to get involved with service and I cannot think of a more fun project than Kid’s Day; trust me, if you are looking to have a lot of fun and want to have the contentment that comes with the knowledge that you are helping kids right here in the Central Valley, this is the event for you. You don’t want to miss out!
If you are interested in volunteering, please follow this link: www.fresnostate.edu/academics/cesl/about/events.html
Sign up today!
The Community Service Opportunities Fair, held January 23rd, was a great event! Fifty-six community benefit agencies were in attendance and students took time out of their day to walk around the different booths and learn about current community service opportunities available to them. The Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement had a booth along with the Picture the Change Campaign put on by your Richter ambassadors. The Richter Center team leads the campus in finding ways to serve and Picture the Change is a student run campaign to promote community service awareness on campus and throughout our community. Richter Center Ambassadors encourage and challenge you as Fresno State students to create meaningful goals to serve in your community. Most importantly, the Ambassadors and the Richter Center are here to help you find ways to engage in the community. If you couldn’t make it to the fair, come by The Richter Center on campus in the Thomas Building, Room 107 or check out our website at http://www.fresnostate.edu/cesl to find out how you can start serving today!
“To empower children and families to achieve productive, self-reliant lives” is the mission of Reading and Beyond. This organization is focused on helping children gain skills and abilities that are necessary for a successful life. Research has found that helping families as a whole is just as important. Reading and Beyond is dedicated to building long-term relationships with families in order to keep children as distant as possible from any unhealthy behaviors.
Reading and Beyond’s target population is low-income families, children ages 0-18, and parents. The organization is able to serve them through a number of different programs:
- Literacy intervention for children
- Early childhood education
- Health education
- College preparation for children and parents
- Parent involvement
- Workforce development
Reading and Beyond does not only focus on schools to reach their desired population, but they also work within apartment complexes, shopping centers, and community organizations. They also conduct educational home visits.
If you are interested in working with children, then Reading and Beyond is a great place to start gaining experience. There are many sites around the Fresno area, and they offer flexible volunteering hours. For more information, visit readingandbeyond.org.
- Ambassador Val
For the last 39 years, Poverello House, a nonprofit organization in the San Joaquin Valley, has been helping those in need. When people don’t have a place to sleep, Poverello House is there for them with shelter. When people do not have a bite to eat, Poverello House is there for them with a warm meal. The services offered there are for all people from different walks in life. On a daily basis, the organization touches the lives of the homeless in the Valley, women and children in need, the elderly, and also migrant farmworkers. Before I spoke to them at last semester’s volunteer fair, I didn’t know that this organization, located at 412 F Street, is more than just a soup home.
Other than providing warm meals, they provide people with shelter at all of their three facilities: Naomi’s House, a facility proving overnight shelter for single childless women, and the Michael McGarvin Jr. Village of Hope and Community of Hope, which provide people with an opportunity to better themselves by allowing them longer stays, not just overnight shelter. Other services they provide to people are substance abuse rehabilitation programs, as well as both individual and group counseling. They also have a clinic on site that provides free medical and dental services. As I was looking at their website I thought it was really cool how they even have a Homeless Court. This Homeless Court is for those individuals who are in a rehabilitation programs and want to fix any problems they may have had with the authorities.
As is with all nonprofit organizations, most of the work done at the Poverello House is by volunteers. So if you are ever looking for a place to volunteer or make a change in someone’s life, Poverello House welcomes anyone with a giving heart.
- Ambassador Paulina
My personal form of advocacy is supporting people with intellectual disabilities by taking part in national events, like Spread the Word to End the Word, which was on March 7, 2012.
When most people think of service, they think of going out and doing things for organizations. They think of serving food to the homeless, or handing out newspapers for Kids Day, or helping revitalize a park, or doing something that benefits people directly. Doing all these things is great, and provides wonderful benefits to the community, but there is another very important form of service out there that many don’t think of: advocacy.
Being an advocate means supporting a cause. Support can mean doing big things, like handing out flyers, putting up posters, and giving speeches. But supporting a cause doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to do big things to make a difference. Doing small things can make you an advocate as well.
For example, I am an advocate for people with intellectual disabilities. I know I can’t do anything huge like petition the government for more rights for intellectually disabled people, and I don’t have time to hand out flyers on campus or organize awareness events. But I can talk about the disabled population with people who have questions, helping to break down the stereotypes and misinformation that many have about what intellectual disability is and how it affects people. And I can help by participating in national awareness days, like Spread the Word to End the Word, an event aimed at stopping the use of the word “retarded” in slang vocabulary. Every little thing I do to help support people with intellectual disabilities is considered advocacy because I am helping raise awareness about the issue.
A lot of you might already be advocates without realizing it. If you support a cause, or feel strongly about an issue, you are being an advocate. It is a form of service because you’re donating your time to support a cause, no matter how big or small.
What issues do you advocate for? In what ways are you an advocate?
- Ambassador Becky
Welcome back for another great semester at Fresno State! While you’re all getting back into the rhythm of college life, why not choose to help make a difference in your community as well? Join us this upcoming Wednesday, January 25 from 10 am-1 pm at the Satellite Student Union for the Community Service Opportunities Fair. We will be hosting over 50 agencies that you can get involved with, including American Red Cross Central Valley, Fresno Chaffee Zoo, and Yosemite National Park, just to name a few. If you want to find exciting ways to help the people, animals, or community around you, this event is exactly what you’re looking for. The opportunities are endless!
Also, be sure to check out the Richter Center Ambassadors booth! We will be continuing our “Picture the Change” campaign at this event, and we want you to help us by pledging. This campaign began in 2009, inspiring Fresno State students to develop a vision of continued community service in their future through personal pledges. Learn more about “Picture the Change” here. The ambassadors will be present to answer any questions about the campaign and about their personal service experiences. Make sure you pledge to learn more about how you can win a lunch for two with the Richter Center Ambassadors! Hope to see you all there!
Check out this video from last year’s spring volunteer fair for an example of what you can expect!