For most college students, Sunday morning is a time reserved specifically for sleeping in. But Nathan Wilkins, an 18-year-old freshman, 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday are spent donating his time at The House of Joy, just one of the many places he volunteers in the community.
Wilkins, originally from Vancouver, Canada, has been attending The House of Joy, a nondenominational church that meets inside of Ashley Cinema, for more than three years.
Every Sunday, Wilkins participates in the “tear down” team, setting up for sermons and then cleaning up afterwards.
Wilkins donated his time to several other organizations before attending VSU, including Lowndes County Democratic Party, WWALS Watershed Coalition, and Hope for Georgia.
The work greatly varied from posting campaign signs, placing door hangers and distributing pamphlets.
“At WWALS I am tasked as secretary to make notes, agendas, advertise, create documents and am currently building a website,” Wilkins said. “For Hope for Georgia I helped in the production of testimonial videos.”
After enrolling at VSU, Wilkins list of volunteer work grew to include College Democrats and Keep Lowndes Valdosta Beautiful.
Last year, Wilkins participated in the No School Consolidation march and credits it as one of his favorite experiences in volunteering.
“I helped organize everyone into groups of three as we marched down Ashley Street,” Wilkins said. “I am very interested in politics and it shows. I’m a political science junkie who just didn’t choose it for my major.”
Wilkins chose physics as his major instead and has yet to find it difficult to balance his volunteering efforts with school. He is also a member of the Society of Physics Students on campus, an organization dedicated to turning its members into contributing members of the professional community.
“It can be hard, but it’s not overly challenging,” Wilkins said. “It’s just fun. I honestly love to volunteer.”
Currently, Wilkins averages an impressive six volunteer hours in a normal week.
“My volunteer hours can average up to 15-20 hours when preparing for upcoming events, or special projects,” he said.
Wilkins also takes a stand against apathy in his fellow college students.
“I always encourage family and friends to join in volunteer work, such as becoming politically involved, river cleanups, and other groups that better suit their interests,” Wilkins said.
Wilkins advises anyone looking to take on volunteering for a cause they’re interested in to not attempt too many hours at once.
“Start small,” Wilkins said. “Don’t immediately dedicate six to eight hours of your time. Work your way up.”