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UTSA students give back to the community with volunteer programs
(April 30, 2012) -- The UTSA Volunteer Organization Involving Community Education and Service (VOICES) coordinated two alternative spring break projects this semester, one in Oklahoma City and another in San Antonio, to provide students with opportunities to give back to the community, share a passion for volunteering and witness the results of doing something for the common good.
Facilitated by UTSA Volunteer Services, one group of students landscaped the entrance to the Urban Harvest garden and sorted food for the Regional Food Back of Oklahoma City. Another volunteer group did a garden clean-up and landscaping at the Lighthouse Hospice in San Antonio, organized the children's library at the Guadalupe Community Center and helped with the setup for a Habitat for Humanity special event.
In Oklahoma City, 12 students and 2 staff advisers spent their spring break completing four projects, in addition to enjoying the musical "Stomp," paying their respects at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and sightseeing on Route 66. The first day was spent at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma City, where the students took a tour of the facility and its sustainable Urban Harvest garden.
The participants later landscaped the entrance to the facility and in the afternoon sorted donated food items for distribution. The students sorted 6,300 pounds of food, equivalent to providing 4,846 meals to Oklahomans who don't know where their next meal is coming from. The group spent the second day at Oklahoma City Animal Welfare, where they walked and groomed dogs in hopes of preparing them for adoption. They also put tags on collars for animals that had been adopted and received their vaccinations.
On the third day, the participants took a trip to Camp DaKaNi where Campfire USA hosts day camp for children whose parents are unable to watch them during spring break. The participants were activity leaders and group assistants for various activities. On their last day of volunteer service, the group helped build three Habitat for Humanity houses.
Back in San Antonio, 14 students and one adviser did four days of service in the community and had a fun dinner at Big Lou's Pizza. For the first day, the participants did a garden clean-up and landscaped the courtyard at Lighthouse Hospice, and in the afternoon had a garden party with cookies and juice for the residents. This gave the participants an opportunity to talk with the residents and learn about the impact of the garden clean-up on them.
On the second day, the group went to Guadalupe Community Center to play games with the children in the morning and in the afternoon organized and categorized the children's library. They also spoke to the children about the benefits of giving back in their community. On the third day, the volunteers went to Habitat for Humanity to re-stock and prepare trailers for the upcoming weekend's events. The final day of service in San Antonio was spent fundraising for San Antonio Pets Alive at Lucy's Doggy Daycare. The students bathed and groomed dogs and raised more than $200 for SAPA.