Tag Archives: community service opportunities

Have You Found Your Music?

5 Feb

Sometimes during the crazy life of being a college student (or whatever is making your life crazy) you need to take time and read a children’s book. Trust me, your day could turn out to be better just because you got to escape into a quick, cute story with lots of pictures! I read a children’s book last year that I have since added to my favorite children’s book list. I like this book so much that whenever I give presents to people who are in their earlier years, I give them this book. Why do I love this book? There are two main reasons.  First, the artwork in the book just makes me happy.  When I look at it, I just go “WOW.”  The second reason is because the message of the story still sticks with me, motivating me to keep going, keep trying, and keep serving.

The book is called Giraffes Can’t Dance. The story follows a Giraffe named Gerald whose legs bend in a different way, causing him to have some troubles walking. Each year, all the animals in the jungle come together for a dance party. Gerald always feels so awkward because he tries and tries and he just can’t get the hang of dancing, and all the other jungle animals laugh at him. One night after being completely embarrassed at the dance party, Gerald goes into a clearing in the jungle and looks up to the moon. That’s when his new friend the cricket comes up to him and asks him what is wrong. Gerald says to the cricket with a very sad face that all the other animals say he just can’t dance. That’s when the cricket suggests that maybe Gerald hasn’t found the right music yet. The cricket then plays his violin and suddenly Gerald is the best dancer in the whole jungle. All of his jungle friends come and look in awe over what Gerald can do. Gerald found music that he loved, helping him to become a great dancer.

I think that Gerald’s story of finding his music correlates to me and my service story. When I first came to Fresno State I couldn’t find anywhere to serve that felt right. I kept feeling this way until I found Alternative Spring Break and Saturday Sports! Both these programs had me working with children, playing sports, making art projects, and creating a safe place for kids in the Fresno community to play. I found service work that I could actually do and do a good job at it! I truly felt that not only was I giving back, my service work was giving back to me. I found service work that made my heart smile.

10014580_10152713776620744_1507571030_n

Alternative Spring Break 2013

Sometimes you try and try and you just don’t feel like you have found where you need to serve, you feel out of place, you might even begin to think that you can’t even give back at all.  But, my friend, that is so not the case – you just haven’t found your music yet! Just like how Gerald found his music, you will find a place to serve and you will thrive. Don’t worry if you haven’t found yours yet, KEEP TRYING!  You might be wondering where to start.  There is a fabulous resource on campus that can act as your cricket and give you service opportunities that you would have never thought of!  Stop by the Richter Center in the Thomas Building, Room 107. I also encourage you to sign up for the by-weekly service newsletter The Epicenter, this resource is filled with all kinds a different opportunities. Try different things out. These two resources can surely get you on your track of finding your service.

Have you found your music that YOU love? Have you ever volunteered or served somewhere that you didn’t expect that you would like, but did? Are you currently serving the community? Have you ever been into the Richter Center?

- Ambassador Ludie Olenchalk

Raising Awareness for Hunger and Homelessness

17 Nov

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?

~Ambassador Juan

Fresno State’s Food Recovery Network

25 Sep

“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 frnfresnostate@gmail.com!

– Ambassador/FRN Event Coordinator Evelyn

Spring into Service with us!

13 Mar

sispic

Join us for Spring into Service on March 22, 2014 from 8:00 AM – 12:30 PM!

18

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.

alexi

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.image_28

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.14

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?

~Ambassador Lilliana

Kid’s Day: Are You Ready to Serve?

28 Feb
Fresno State students have fun working together to raise money for Children's Hospital Central California at a previous Kid's Day.

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 who will be raising money throughout the city.  We love seeing how excited our peers are to get started selling papers and raising money and awareness for Children's Hospital Central California!

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!

 -Ambassador Daniel

Spring Fair Recap

5 Feb

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!

-Ambassador Aldi

Reading and Beyond: Empowering Children and Families

3 May

“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

The Poverello House: Touching lives since 1973

28 Mar

Volunteers at the Poverello House prepare food for those in need of a warm meal. Photo credit: http://www.poverellohouse.org.

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.

Volunteers donate their time at the Poverello House in Fresno. Photo credit: http://www.poverellohouse.org/.

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

Advocacy: Another Form of Service

14 Mar

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

Kick Off the Year with Service!

23 Jan

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!

-Ambassador German

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 252 other followers