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National Volunteer Week: California State University, Los Angeles

April 22, 2013
National Volunteer Week, April 21- 27, 2013, is about “inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities.” Golden Key would like to take time this week to thank all of our wonderful volunteers, whether they be Chapter Advisors, Student Officers, or all of the members that work hard to make a difference in their communities.

Golden Key students and alumni from California State University, Los Angeles share their experiences volunteering in this highlight of amazing students and chapters making a difference in their communities.

What’s your motivation to volunteer?

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Cassandra Taylor: My motivation to volunteer is the smiles and appreciation I receive from those we help. The feeling is indescribable. Seeing the look on a child’s face when they receive their first book or the gratefulness in a person’s eyes when you serve them a hot meal. It’s a great feeling to give and once you start, you want to give as much as you can and help whenever you can.

Janelle Col: Motivation stems from knowing for just a few hours I may have made a difference in someone’s life. Just the ability to reinforce that someone does care and they do matter is such a rewarding experience.

Tiffany Kilbas: To learn about the neighborhoods outside mine and the neighbors within mine. To meet new people and have new experiences. But mostly, to help someone who needs it.

Ayana Younge: My motivation to volunteer comes from  the fact that I know there are people in this world that do not have the things (materials, support, love, relationships, opportunities) that I do. Why not spend an extra dollar or an extra hour to give back to someone who is in need. Plus, I love seeing the looks on people’s faces when they receive something they value, or are in a positive environment they are not used to.

Michelle Pereira: My motivation to volunteer is simply to give back to others who aren’t as fortunate as the rest of us. I recognize the plights that a lot of the people we serve go through having gone through similar ones myself and I just think it’s something that everyone should do at least once a month. People appreciate the simple acts of kindness, cliché as it sounds especially when they have nobody or little other people supporting them.

What’s your favorite part about serving the community?

Vivian Lee: My favorite part about serving the community is seeing all the people that come together to help those in need. Everyone has troubles and bad days. It’s a wonderful sight to see everyone come together as a unit, abandon their worries for just a minute, and work together for a greater good. It is hard work sometimes, but it’s so beautiful to see people expressing empathy through altruism and spreading love instead of hate.

Eleni Mastorakos: My favorite part is meeting people and helping those in need. I generally like events that are connected to education, so for example, reading to students, making projects with students. I really try to make time in my schedule but it is hard. My goal is once a month however sometimes I have to skip due to homework/studying/work.

Tiffany Kilbas: My favorite part about Golden Key/serving is people and students from diverse backgrounds all coming together to unite in a cause while aiming for personal growth.

Nicholas Carrillo: My favorite part about serving the community is that I am able to immediately see my efforts make a positive impact. My favorite part about serving with Golden Key is that they create an enjoyable environment and experience while working towards a positive goal.

Janelle Col: Favorite part is being surrounded by my fellow peers making a difference in something we believe in.

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What was your favorite volunteer project? Most fun? Most rewarding?

Nicholas Carrillo: My favorite volunteer project was at the U.S.S Iowa. It was my first time walking around a battleship and I enjoyed it as we guided numerous veterans. It was fantastic hearing the different experiences each veteran had and the camaraderie they all shared. It was one of the most rewarding experiences to hear how thankful they were that we would take the time to do that for them.

Christian Que: I always love volunteering at the New Member Recognition Event because I see the validation that everyone feels when they accomplish something as daunting as pursuing academic excellence.

Tiffany Kilbas: Favorite: Huntington Elementary Dr. Seuss Birthday event; Most fun: Habitat for humanity Geneva Build; Most Rewarding: Seasons Ontario Arts and Crafts with low income seniors.

Ayana Younge: A project I especially enjoyed was working with foster youth at a College Readiness event at USC. I enjoyed this day (and staff) so much that I am actually a regular volunteer for United Friends of the Children (the non-profit organization that organized the event).

Michelle Pereira: The last one I attended was at the Union Rescue Mission which surprisingly I had been wanting to go for two years prior to that evening! I was able to go with my sister and my sister doesn’t volunteer often, but leaving that night after a few hours she really enjoyed it! She now sees the importance of lending out a hand which is amazing to me. She wants to go back every month and it’s a little difficult now that she’s expecting her first child, but meeting the fellow volunteers and the people we served made the experience so rewarding for her so it definitely doubled the rewarding feeling for me, as well!

What types of volunteer service do you usually participate in?

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Nicholas Carrillo:I tend to participate in volunteer services with children either by tutoring or teaching them chess. I also volunteer with our campuses student government and the local events they host.

Christian Que: We love to participate in whatever event we are able to participate in, considering our schedule.

Janelle Col: Literacy, health screenings, local beautification projects.

Tiffany Kilbas: Health projects, blood drives and run walks

Ayana Younge: The types of volunteer service I usually participate in is working with homeless individuals or youth.

Michelle Pereira: I usually volunteer for women’s events or any events having to do with supporting people with disabilities mainly, but I’m open to any type of volunteer opportunity.

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