Agencies seek a few good Rams

Agencies seek a few good Rams
September 11
00:00 2014

Jamaal Bowden speaks with Natasha Lawrence about the Life Line Shoebox project.

(pictured above:  Ben Tennille from H.O.P.E. of Winston-Salem speaks with Ariyonia McCain.)

To help those who are looking to help others, Winston-Salem State University held its annual Fall Student Involvement Fair on Aug. 27.

Representatives from several agencies in need of volunteers set-up displays near the breezeway of the Thompson Student Services Center. Some universities require students to complete volunteer hours as a requirement of graduation. Although students in the the WSSU Honors College must complete 30 hours of volunteer service a year, there is no general volunteering requirement at the school.

LaMonica Sloan, director of Career Development Services, said Rams have always been good about volunteering on their own.

Students walk around the breezeway .

Students walk around the breezeway .

“We never have an issue of students completing service,” Sloan said. “Last year, for those that reported it, there were over 70,000 hours of service completed. We have students who just love to serve and take part in these events.”

Debbie Cesta, manager of corporate and community engagement for Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County, said college volunteers are essential. In addition to helping construct and renovate houses, volunteers work at the agency’s Restore and support special fundraisers like an annual 5k run and golf tournament.

Debbie Cesta

Debbie Cesta

“We have had fraternities, sororities, service organizations, athletic teams and different classes come out,” she said. “The students come out, are interested and they work hard. It has been terrific.”

Student Brandy Johnson visited the Habitat table to sign up to give her time to the agency, which provides decent, affordable housing for low income families. Habitat’s mission is in-line with Johnson’s career goals; she is studying to become a social worker.


Brandy Johnson

“I really love to give back. I deal with a lot of at-risk youth, young adults and older adults. I believe that if anyone is willing to better themselves, I am willing to put in the time to help them in whatever aspect,” Johnson said.

As for volunteering with Habitat, she said, “I’ve always had a knack for wanting to build things and I can do this while helping someone else. It is a way to give back to people who deserve it.”

Marty Tennille co-operates Help Our People Eat (H.O.P.E.) of Winston-Salem. The agency, which leads a community-wide effort to feed children from low-income households and provide their families with fresh produce, is looking for volunteers to assemble meal packages, deliver  meals and help keep its new app – Hope W-S – up-to-date.

Marty Tennille

Marty Tennille

“We are trying to get the community involved with helping the community. The more college students we get, the better,” Tennille said.

He said students also serve as mentors and role models to the kids his agency serves.

“The children look up to the students, and they have a big influence. They sit down with the children and ask about school, likes and dislikes … When the children hear about what college students are interested in, it broadens their lives.”

Ariyonia McCain, a sophomore from Fayetteville, has a history of volunteering. She attended the fair to look for new opportunities to give back.

Ariyonia McCain

Ariyonia McCain

“I have a lot of activities that I did in Fayetteville. I would go all around the city helping people out in any way,” McCain said. “I still love volunteering, and I would love to bring that to Winston-Salem State University in any way.”

Senior Jamaal Bowden manned the table for his own initiative, G3 Community Outreach, which engages college students in service programs that positively impact the community. He also used the fair to network with other agencies in the hopes of forming future partnerships.

“I wanted to find the same kind of people who had the same mission and goal that I have. I found that here,” he said. “I want to help people anyway that I possibly can.”

WSSU has launched Project G.I.V.E. (Getting Involved through Volunteering Experiences) to give students the chance to gain more leverage with their volunteer service. The program is designed for students to use volunteer experiences to develop their talents, skills and to contribute to their personal and career success.

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Chanel Davis

Chanel Davis

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