Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 4
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Students find innovative ways to lend a helping hand

Featured+Content+Page+15
Featured Content Page 15

This article originally appeared as part of the Featured section in the February 26, 2009 print edition. To see how this article and the others in the section originally looked in print click the thumbnails for larger versions. The article continues below the thumbnails.

No one denies that the Center for Community Service (CCS) is a great campus resource  for hopeful volunteers. CCS runs popular  programs like Adopt-a-Grandparent and  the Mentor Program. Although many students are involved with the Center’s various projects, other community volunteer  opportunities abound. Alternative volunteer opportunities exist in all sorts of local  organizations.

Sophomore Sarah Reichardt, the RA of  the Community Service Co-op, teaches religious school at St. Patrick Parish, a Catholic church in Walla Walla. She teams up  with fellow Whitman student Mary Dolan,  also a sophomore, to teach one Sunday  School class a month. Dolan and Reichardt  develop and execute a lesson plan geared  toward kids in elementary school.

Reichardt’s favorite part of the job? “Getting to know people of different ages  and people out in Walla Walla,” she said.

Rachel Sicheneder, a sophomore, is also  actively involved with community service.  She mentors through the CSS-run Mentor Program: in fact, she serves as one of  three student interns for the program. She  also teaches English as a Second Language  (E.S.L.) through Blue Mountain Action  Council, a local Community Action Program.

Sicheneder tutors one student, approximately 30 years old, for an hour. They meet  twice a week to work on grammar and conversational skills.

“It’s less classroom-based and more  based on just being able to talk in the real  world and get around using English,” said  Sicheneder.

Sicheneder cautioned prospective volunteers about the variable nature of programs  not operated under CCS. She worked with  Friends of Children of Walla Walla last  year and found the program poorly organized.

“When you do things that are run out of Whitman, they generally tend to be more  accessible and better run,” said Sicheneder. Although Sicheneder had an unsatisfactory experience with  Friends, other Whitman students praise the program.

Nick Gottschall, a senior,  went outside of CCS’s established programs (namely the  Mentor Program) due to a scheduling conï¬â€šict. He was happy to  discover Friends of Children of  Walla Walla (“Friends”), a local organization that pairs adult  mentors with underprivileged  children.

Gottschall meets once a week  with an 11-year-old boy to play basketball,  go ice-skating, or join in other fun activities.

Even though Gottschall is a Walla Walla  native, he still finds value in getting into  the local community.

“Definitely one of my motivations for  wanting to do [Friends] was to be in touch  with, and also help out, the Walla Walla  community at large,” he said.

All volunteers seem to agree that volunteering either through CCS or independent- ly is a great way to get off campus.

“I definitely feel like I’m breaking the  ‘Whitman bubble’ with both mentoring and  tutoring,” said Sicheneder.

To find out more about non-CCS programs, check out the Volunteer Map on  CCS’s Web site (whitman.edu/community_service). The Volunteer Map lists over  60 non-profit agencies within two miles of  campus and includes their contact information and addresses. You can also set up a  volunteer consultation session to find a service opportunity that best suits your skills  and interests. To schedule a consultation,  e-mail Lina Menard, the CCS Coordinator,  at [email protected].   The CCS office, in  Reid 208, is another great resource.

You can also visit the Community Service Co-op, part of the Interest House Community, for more information about volunteer opportunities. The Co-op is located at  406 Cypress St., across from Das Deutsche  Haus.

“Everybody in here does something different and we can always talk to people  about our experiences,” said Reichardt of  the Co-op.

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