Thursday, March 31, 2016

Volunteer Opportunities

About 80% of Fordham University undergraduates 
participate in at least one service project.

This is an awesome percentage and one of the statistics that made me give Fordham a closer look, since I knew in high school that I wanted service to be part of my college experience. I spent my freshman year getting my feet wet on campus. I tried a bunch of different clubs (some of which were service-oriented), was heavily involved in the Manresa community, and did some outside volunteer work as well. Through an email blast from Fordham's Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice, I found out about a Saturday morning tutoring program at a middle school located near Yankee Stadium. While some of my friends gawked at me for waking up at 8am a few Saturdays each semester, I loved it. Working with those kids to solve their science and math questions or improve their reading proficiency made me feel connected to my new home and made me care about the goings-on of the Bronx. 

This year, as a sophomore, I began volunteering at St. Rita's Center for Immigration and Refugee Services. On Wednesday and Thursday mornings, I teach a two-hour class to adult immigrants trying to learn English. I found out about St. Rita's through the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice's annual Volunteer and Internship Fair. Local organizations and programs line Edward's Parade, welcoming all students to consider volunteering with their group for whatever time commitment they could. I was drawn to St. Rita's because I am especially curious about the immigrant's experience in the United States and I thought that gaining some experience teaching would help me in my career discernment process. While I have always enjoyed service and volunteer work, nothing could have prepared me for the incredible joy I get from consistently working with my students at St. Rita's. 

The DDCSJ provides all the resources a Fordham student needs to get involved in the Bronx community. By volunteering, students can become a tangible part of the community, instead of just being a visitor for four years as they get their degree. One great opportunity offered by the DDCSJ is the Service Learning Program, where students can connect volunteer work with a class and receive credit. Taking a Service Learning class is on my Fordham bucket list, and I hope to take one next fall.

If you think you might be interested in doing service and volunteer work during college, becoming acquainted with your prospective schools' programs and resources is crucial! Check out the site for the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice here!

"We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community." 
~ Dorothy Day

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