Civic Engagement Week honors volunteers

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 Illustration by Alexandra Nelipa

Illustration by Alexandra Nelipa

Staff and students recognized with presidential award.

By Tim Hernandez

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

An awards ceremony kicks off Civic Engagement Week at 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. today in the Fiesta Room of Loftin Student Center.

The ceremony recognizes students and staff members who have earned a Presidential Volunteer Service Award, and will be followed by students sharing stories about their volunteer activities.

A Presidential Volunteer Service Award is earned by meeting the required number of service hours over a 12-month period and is based upon the age of the volunteer and the level of the award, bronze, silver or gold.

A family or group can earn the award by working together toward the common goal.

In addition, the award can be earned by an individual as a lifetime award by serving 4,000 hours.

For specific information visit the website: www.presidentialserviceawards.gov/the-award

A volunteer fair will be 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday in the Fiesta Room of Loftin to provide volunteer opportunities.

The list of confirmed organizations attending the volunteer fair includes Big Brothers Big Sisters; Harbor Hospice; Catholic Charities; Habitat for Humanity of San Antonio; AmeriCorps Corporation for National and Community Service; San Antonio Children’s Museum; Fiesta San Antonio Commission; Child Advocates of San Antonio; Empowerment Center; Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Antonio; the Center for Health Care Services; One World Conservation; St. Peter-St. Joseph Children’s Home; American Red Cross; and the American Heart Association.

Students and staff members can sign up at either event for the 21st annual Basura Bash on Saturday.

The first 15 people to sign up will receive a free hoodie from the Center for Civic Engagement and Service Learning.

Per the center’s website, www.alamo.edu/sac/student-life/civic-engagement/, service-learning and volunteering are two different avenues by which a student can become involved in efforts to improve their community.

The website quotes www.servicelearning.org/what-service-learning, “service-learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.”

Volunteering is defined at the website as “a student’s decision to give their time to perform a service without compensation.”

The center falls under the office of student life and is managed by Mary Elise Ferrer.

She began working in student life as the coordinator for the center in December 2013.

Ferrer said, “When they (students) volunteer they can learn skills they can apply to future careers.

“They can also network with employers in the field they would like to pursue.”

Ferrer has been an adjunct at this college since 2007.

She taught continuing education courses and worked in the continuing education division as a program coordinator 2007-2013.

Ferrer also taught history courses at this college 2011-2014.

The week’s activities are focused on volunteering, but students interested in service-learning can contact the center to learn about available opportunities.

For more information, call Ferrer at 210-486-0157 or email mferrer10@alamo.edu.

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