Kick off National Volunteer Week by getting involved

Rebecca Mohr

Try out different summer volunteer opportunities to better the world and yourself

Volunteering is something that many students forget when they are planning their summer. There are places everywhere that need volunteers and help year-round, especially in the hot summer months.

“Volunteering is selflessly giving to others,” said Megan Odell-Scott, Kent State’s Ohio Campus Compact AmeriCorps community service leader. “We live in Northeast Ohio, which is a very big area where volunteers are needed because of the economic status.”

This week is recognized as National Volunteer Week, and the theme this year is “Volunteer to Change the World.”

Campus organizations provide numerous opportunities to volunteer during the spring and fall semesters, and summer service is also offered.

“We are going to provide opportunities for students to volunteer throughout the summer in our area,” Odell-Scott said, adding that students should e-mail her to receive updates about volunteer opportunities.

Besides helping the local community, some people have recently suggested that volunteering may be good for your well-being.

“I do believe volunteering is good for your health,” said senior psychology major Colleen Dragovich. “I always find myself feeling better after I help someone. I always find myself smiling, and smiling produces endorphins. Endorphins help you have a good mood, and they also increase your immune system’s defense.”

Chelsea Wonski, sophomore political science major, agreed with Dragovich.

“It is kind of like therapy,” Wonski said. “Helping others makes you feel really good, and you get just as much out of it as you put in.”

Besides for health benefits, making the decision to volunteer is one of dedication.

“Volunteering is a passion of mine,” said Anne Dudley, sophomore interpersonal communication major. “I love being able to help people in any way I am able, be in new situations, serving people of all walks of life and having the opportunity to learn about myself through service.”

Dragovich agreed that volunteering is a passion.

“I feel that people in the community and all over the world need help,” she said. “I have the ability to do so, and I feel that it is partly my responsibility as a citizen of this world to help those who need it. I love what I do.”

There may be many ways to volunteer over the summer through Kent State and in local areas. There are also national organizations in need of volunteers over the summer. AmeriCorps has a summer program for students.

“It’s called the Summer of Service,” Odell-Scott said. “AmeriCorps is the corporation for national service organization. You get paid for volunteering across the United States, even though most places are in the Gulf Coast still, and you receive an education award at the end of the summer.”

Students interested can visit to check out volunteer opportunities.

“We had a Kent student attend one summer, and he said it was the best summer of his life,” Odell-Scott said. “As college students we have so much. Why not give back to the community?”

Contact features correspondent Rebecca Mohr at [email protected].