Service Hours Help Students Give Back

Service Hours Help Students Give Back

Samantha Verdisco, Staff Writer

As the second semester concludes, students stress not only about exams, but also service hours.

Do I have enough? Do I need more? Did I do this right? How will it affect me?

However, a midst the chaos of  tracking hours, schedules, organizing logs, writing reflections, etc., we often forget the true purpose of volunteering: Giving back to the community.

Just recently, I, as a requirement for confirmation, had to complete five hours of service from an organization pre-approved of by my church.  Reluctantly, I selected Metropolitan Ministries, a local homeless shelter, oblivious to the experience that was to follow.

As I arrived, I was welcomed by a young woman who spent her free time working with this institution. She guided me through a long, narrow hallway that eventually led to an open room where those, seeking shelter, lounged around, eagerly waiting for their names to be called to receive clothing and food.

I was quickly assigned the task of organizing clothes in the “Metro Outfitters” section. As a dawdled through the forest of clothes, a specific item appeared, standing out among the others: A uniform from my old school. I knew my family donated to Metropolitan Ministries before, but I did not expect to come in contact with a familiar piece. I wondered if this article could have possibly belonged to me. Ironically, checking the tag,  I discovered it happened to be my personal uniform displayed.

From this moment, it struck me that my small donation, coincidentally winding up at the same time and place that I had, can impact those in the strangest ways.

Here are some great places to volunteer at in the Tampa Bay Area:

Metropolitan Ministries

St. Joseph’s Hospital

Meals on Wheels

Help Brings Hope for Haiti

The Humane Society

**The Florida Aquarium

**Note: Age restriction (click link for more details)