Sophomores lend helping hands during holidays

The holiday breaks in late November and half of December providing sophomores with a chance to fulfill a portion of the 12 community service hours that are a part of the grade level experience.

Sophomore Class Leadership Council compiles an annual list of volunteering opportunities to make students’ lives easier. The list includes places like the International Institute of Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Meals on Wheels — and so much more.

With an extensive list, students can to choose the opportunities that they connect the most to.
SoCLC leader Nicholas McCarthy plans to volunteer with both the Isles Ensemble orchestra and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

“I volunteered at the Isles Ensemble because one of my parents plays in the Isles Ensemble. I am going to volunteer at the DNR because nature is cool,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy completed the service over Thanksgiving Break, he said, because it allowed for free time without school or homework.

[Volunteering] deinitely… spreads happiness, especially around the holidays.”

— Scarlett Gibson

Sophomore Bora Mandic, who comes from a Turkish background, plans to teach non-native speakers English.

“I found out about [a] Turkish organization from my mom and I thought it would be a cool experience to try out,” he said. “I chose to volunteer because I wanted to help out someone who is trying to come to the US from Turkey.”

Community service serves as a way for students to try new things and participate in activities that they normally may not have the chance for.

“I’m applying to do some hours at the Humane Society,” sophomore Scarlett Gibson said. “I’m doing the Humane Society because I like animals and I don’t get lots of opportunities to work with them even though I want to.”

Besides helping out others, Gibson believes that volunteering holds the power to bring families closer together.

“I think it’s definitely a great family activity and its fun spreads happiness, especially around the holidays,” she said.

To volunteer at different organizations is not difficult either.

According to McCarthy, “For the Isles Ensemble, I talked to relatives. For the DNR, I went to their website and emailed the site manager at the Scientific Natural Area where I am going to volunteer. [Plus,] on Nov. 19, the first day of Thanksgiving break, there was a volunteering opportunity at a Scientific Nature center [mentioned in]… an email from Dr. Moerer,” he said.

History teacher Andrea Moerer is the faculty advisor to SoCLC and communicates regularly with the class as new opportunities come up.

As high school students take advantage of the holiday season, people expect nonprofits to see a surge of volunteers.

“I think there’d be more people volunteering during the holidays because it’s an especially important time of the year for community work and giving gifts and joy to the people who don’t have a direct source to those things,” Gibson said.

Volunteering isn’t just for sophomores fulfilling their 12 hours; anyone interested in finding a good match for their service interests can explore options at Hands On Twin Cities.

A glance into service hours at Feed My Starving Children