Holiday volunteering brings perspective, adds to students’ résumés

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Volunteering isn’t just an opportunity to help others; it is also an opportunity to help yourself, add to your résumé and gain valuable skills. 

The holiday season is coming faster than Santa flies around the world on Christmas Eve, and the festivities also bring a lot of volunteering opportunities to add to the holiday spirit.

David Murphy, a career counselor at Dixie State University, said besides the good feelings you get by giving back in soup kitchen or a toy drive, these acts of volunteerism can look good on a résumé.

“It shows you are concerned with the community outside yourself and involved,” Murphy said. “Most companies today have a service component to them, and they can recognize and acknowledge those simple acts of volunteerism.”  

Murphy said students should probably not make coin drives and soup kitchens their full résumé, but volunteering could help them stand out.

Volunteerism can be catered to your major to help you get your foot-in-the-door, gain practical experience, or just help you figure out if nursing, business or physical therapy is something you are truly interested in, Murphy said.

 Noelle Hele, a sophomore exercise science major from Apple Valley, California, said she doesn’t volunteer a lot, but one of her volunteer opportunities is related to an issue she was learning about in a class.

“I have volunteered for the Utah Food Bank and got to see hunger crisis first hand and experience part of that,” Hele said. “I think volunteering [at the Utah Food Bank] and relating it to hunger crisis on my résumé could help strengthen [my résumé] and my major.”

Dillon McKinney, DSU Student Association vice president of services and a junior math major from St. George, said when you get into the service setting, it will change your perspective on the issue first hand. His eyes were opened to what being homeless is really like during DSU’s alternative spring break in San Francisco in 2015. 

“I don’t think you can ever prepare to serve breakfast at 6 a.m. to a bunch of 5- and 6-year-olds and disabled people who are missing limbs that are going without shelter or that simple meal,” McKinney said. “It kind of shatters your stereotypes of what issues are really like.”

DSU students can get involved locally this holiday season with the Kony Coins for Kids toy drive or at soup kitchens organized by the homeless shelter Switchpoint or the Grace Episcopal Church.

Kony Coins For Kids

Kony Coins for Kids is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to provide Christmas to disadvantaged kids in the Washington County area.

Students can donate their change or cash, unwrapped toys, or time to help out during the annual toy drive.

Kony Coins for Kids has already finished sorting through the applications but will still need help in collecting the funds, buying the toys, wrapping the presents and delivering them to the little boys and girls.

• Shopping will be Dec. 14 starting at 5 p.m. at the Walmart in Bloomington

• Wrapping will be Dec. 15 starting at 8 a.m. at the Dixie Convention Center

For more details about volunteering, visit their website at coinsforkids.net.

Soup kitchens

Grace Episcopal Church operates a soup kitchen serving hot lunches four days out of the week, Monday — Wednesday and Fridays from noon until 1:30 p.m. The church is located at 1072 E. 900 S. Students can contact the church at 435-628-1131.

Switchpoint operates its soup kitchen five days a week, Monday – Friday, from 11:45 p.m. to 1 p.m. Switchpoint is located on 948 N 1300 W.

Students can also seek other volunteer opportunities at Switchpoint by visiting their website at http://www.switchpointcrc.org/switchpoint_home.php or by calling 435-628-9310.