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Volunteering: the cure for summer blues

Written by Alex Dunn, Campus Life Editor

If you find yourself stuck in Valdosta over the summer and want to fill those long days with something productive, volunteering might be a good choice. Not only is it a great way to give back to others, but certain volunteer opportunities could benefit your area of study.

On-campus opportunities are easy to come by according to Brittany Watts, an Early Childhood Education Major and graduate assistant at the Sullivan Literacy Center at Valdosta State University.  Volunteer opportunities are offered during the fall, spring and summer semesters.

The Sullivan Literacy Center employs volunteers that get to teach children reading, writing, comprehension, spelling and vocabulary. The children are divided up in groups and each have their own volunteer helping them.

VSU also offers a Blazing Through Books program, Dear Blazer Buddy program and an M-CAT program to anyone willing to apply. Each provides an outlet for volunteers to interact with kids and teach them a variety of academic skills. These include reading and writing skills, as well as math, science and social studies. There is even a pen pal program where kids can practice writing letters to volunteers and mailing them to each other.

“Each student writes a letter and is paired with a volunteer anonymously,” said Watts. “Once the volunteer responds to the first letter, we take the liberty of helping the students respond during class, and we mail the written letter to the volunteer for the process to start all over again and we provide the stamps.”

VSU students who would find these volunteer opportunities the most beneficial and helpful are education majors. Not everything has to be done for school, however. Plenty of people living in Valdosta over the summer can find ways to help out the community.

Places like hospitals, the library and the YMCA are always looking for volunteers over the summer. Because such a wide variety of places are available, students in different majors won’t have a hard time finding an area that they are interested in.

There are also many different types of jobs that can be done for each volunteer location. For instance, the hospital can set volunteers up at the front desk, helping out doctors and patients, and even working in the pet therapy room.

Not only can volunteering over the summer help consume those idle hours of boredom, but it is also a chance to give back to the community and help others. Whether through VSU or around the general area, students will be able to find plenty of volunteer opportunities in Valdosta.

You can visit the Blazer Volunteer Opportunities webpage for a list of volunteer opportunities in Valdosta, or email Volunteer Services at Volunteer@valdosta.edu

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