Volunteering: more than just details on your college app

Skyler Radford, Focus Editor

During his third year of volunteering for the Woodland Park Zoo, senior Anthony Alegrete was in charge of educating the park patrons about the raptor exhibit. He felt fairly confident in his information, and had spent a number of satisfying hours in conversation with inquisitive visitors. That was, until he was approached by an eager ten-year-0ld who was an absolute expert and had an absolute passion for raptors.
“This experience allowed me to have a greater appreciation for some of the conservation efforts we spent time on as volunteers. This kid had such a great passion and knowledge about these species.” Alegrete said. “Our conversation was long and involved, and I was reminded of why I was volunteering and that there are other people out there – especially little kids – who care so much about the environment. I was inspired,”
Alegrete’s sentiments reflect those of a lot of Patriot volunteers – that the experience is valuable and heart-warming and reminds them of what an impact they can have in their communities.
“There are often a lot of hard jobs that need to be done that you don’t get any benefit from. Someone’s going to have to do them,” junior Macay Fisher said. “Volunteering is a necessary part in the community to get the activity done with.”
Working with Mountain to Sound Greenway community services, Fisher spent hours clearing blackberry vines until a nice field was cleared. He says that despite the long work, seeing the final product was a major accomplishment and one of his favorite moments volunteering.
While the schedule of any Patriot is often full of homework and activities, many still find a couple hours can be spared to get together and help the community.
“If you take the time you can actually get things done and make changes for the better,” Fisher said. “Just putting in a few extra hours you can actually make a positive improvement.”
Many Patriots take part in helping out various organizations. They say that they feel involved and proud for helping out and inspired to do more in their daily lives to help others. The variety of opportunities out there provide a range of perspectives on the problems in the community and educate students on what needs to be done in the future to prevent problems from reoccurring.
“More people should volunteer because one person can’t do a lot but with a ton of people working all of their combined efforts, they can get some things done pretty quickly,” Fisher said.
Studies have been performed by Harvard University that have discovered that volunteering doesn’t just help the community, but also the individual doing the work. There is a decrease in stress, increase in happiness and self-worth, along with higher rates of physical activity. Social skills are further developed from the interactions with fellow volunteers and those in need.
Volunteering is a free-of-charge activity where one can have time to reflect on the community, learn new skills, discover the problems they find passion in solving, and make a difference.