Last semester, I joined with Texas State Community Relations to help out with a campus tour for middle school kids. It was one of the best decisions I could’ve made; I had a great time and got to become close with some of the kids from my group. We all bonded instantly and I loved being able to show them our beautiful campus and teach them about everything that college has to offer. It is quite rewarding to see the younger kids look up to you and be fond of you and your position in life. I reminisce on my experience in such a positive light that I figured it is important for everyone to gain some volunteering experience at least once in college. I did a little research and also got an interview from with the administrative assistant from the Community Relations department, Reyna Caraveo, to give you guys precise information straight from the source.
“The Office of Community Relations connects university resources to local community needs to increase the quality of life and enrich all San Marcos citizens,” Caraveo said. “We build bridges between the university and the community by engaging in numerous outreach efforts including those with neighborhood associations, nonprofit organizations, area schools, businesses and residents.”
The city of San Marcos gives Texas State students a great home so it is important for us to give back to the local community. Community Relations does a great job at communicating with them and are always on top of events that are going on and jobs that need to be done.
“Our goals are to support strong community relationships that foster goodwill and support, encourage and participate in professional development, personal effectiveness and involvement, to provide underrepresented students with leadership and engagement opportunities in a diverse community,” Caraveo said.
Volunteering can give you tons of valuable experience that could come to use in your future. Regardless of your major, many of the jobs offer diverse sets of skills that you can benefit from. You are getting a hands-on experience that will introduce you to working as a leader and a positive role model at the same time.
“Many of the events place Texas State student volunteers in leadership roles and allow them to engage and network with community members,” Caraveo said. “The positive effect on audiences and volunteers involved that results from these events and programs is the most rewarding experience. My goal is to ensure that all individuals and groups participating receive a memorable and gratifying experience.”
There is a huge variety of volunteer work that is available; you can help out with school lunches, park clean-ups and even become a reading tutor for children in elementary. However, it is not limited to activities such as those. If teaching adorable kids how to read does not sound appealing, check Texas State’s Community Relations website for all other types of opportunities available. If you are not familiar with process of volunteering, do not fret, I have the answers for that too.
“As far as volunteering for Community Relations events, the process is simple,” Caraveo explained. “All of our events are considered volunteer opportunities. The program and event information is available on our website and students can sign up online for the event that they’re interested in. We also feature partnership volunteer opportunities, which they can sign up for online as well. We then contact them with further details regarding the event and we do provide community service documentation.”
One of the main reasons you should volunteer is because of the fun you will have. You will meet other students who are interested in the same things you are and go home with a lot more friends. You won’t even realize how much you enjoyed yourself until the end of the day. Stop procrastinating and just do it. I was constantly telling myself that I would sign up soon, but never got around to it. One day, I just checked the opportunities and was interested in the campus tours, so I instantly signed up and ended up loving it!
“My job is fun! It’s something different everyday, and I get to work with a variety of different audiences,” Caraveo said when asked about her favorite aspects of her work. “Event planning is a major part of my job and very tasking, but once you see all your hard work pay off by ending with a successful event, it’s very fulfilling. We are very fortunate to have built strong, long-standing partnerships with the Texas State and San Marcos community and I am extremely grateful for the relationships and friends I’ve made.”
I know we are all super busy with our hectic lives, but keep volunteering in your community in mind. Try to make time and sign up for an event that interests you. One of the easiest ways to stay updated is join the weekly newsletter from Community Relations, you will not regret it! I hope this inspires you guys to get out and give back to our beautiful community and city.
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