Gu Volunteer Program Brings Students, Community Together
Spokane’s charities are looking for a few good students.
On Thursday, 38 non-profit organizations showed up on the Gonzaga University campus to recruit student volunteers.
“This is something Gonzaga promotes as part of its mission,” said Sima Thorpe, volunteer coordinator on campus.
In fact, some classes require up to 30 hours of volunteer service as part of the course work.
Students learn about the community, some of its problems and what the agencies are doing to solve those problems, Thorpe said.
GU sponsors a community service fair twice a year. The idea is to bring students and organizations together to make it easier for students to get involved.
The Youth Help Association, which offers drug and alcohol counseling for juveniles, had 15 volunteers before lunch. Other organizations had fewer sign-ups, but representatives said they were happy to get whatever help they can.
“I think it’s really important for people to be active in service,” said Stephen Fofanoff, a junior in religious studies.
Fofanoff serves as youth minister at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in the Spokane Valley. He said he wants his teens to get involved in service, and was using Thursday’s fair to check out the possibilities.
“There needs to be a sense of justice and action, and taking everything we are talking about (in classes) and putting it into practice,” Fofanoff said.
Dave McKenzie, a representative for Cancer Patient Care, said students can help in a lot of ways, including stocking shelves at his agency’s thrift store.
“These kids here want to help,” he said. “These kids here are some of the greatest kids I’ve seen.”
Sophomore Kristin Whitehead said she’s trying to organize a Spokane affiliate of a national organization that rehabilitates homes of low-income senior citizens.
The group, called Christmas in April, is being organized on the Gonzaga campus.
“I really get a lot out of helping others. It’s something I think is worthwhile,” Whitehead said.