Student Volunteer Connection
A volunteering interview by: Emily
Brenda volunteers with two organizations on campus at Texas State University. She volunteers her time with a service sorority called Chi Beta, and a chartered organization called Student Volunteer Connection. We interviewed her based off her experience with Student Volunteer Connection, or SVC. Brenda is Programs Coordinator with SVC and is responsible with the help of other chair members to organize fun, interactive, engaging, and educational community service or volunteer events. She organized a very successful event called health and hunger week. Health and Hunger week was an educational and informative event where students were selected at random to be part of a social class, and based off that class they were provided hypothetical food, and circumstances. The student engaged within their social class with other students whose status may have risen or fallen. The event was sort of a social experiment and very successful. Students enjoyed the event and it raised a large level of awareness for the students and participants involved. Other events that take place on campus are in collaboration with other non-profit organizations. Brenda’s role requires novel ideas, critical thinking, professionalism, a drive and a great marketing ability. She has been very successful in her role with SVC and we look forward to seeing what she can bring to the table next semester.
Growing up Brenda experienced challenges that most other American children never dreamt about. Brenda is Mexican-American, which means her parents migrated to the United States before she was born. Her father worked nearly 80 hours a week, and her mother 25 just to make ends meet. Her father had to work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week while her mother worked 5 hours a day 5 hours a week and took care of 5 children. Her family was on government assistance programs like Medicare and Food Stamps. Even though most of what Brenda and her siblings received were donations of used toys, clothes, and food and even though she watched her classmates attend field trips and participate in sports that she couldn’t because they didn’t have the financial means to support it. It was still her family that told her and her siblings they were fortunate to have what they had and they should always give back. Brenda and her siblings started volunteering at the church to help others in need. “I packed bags of food for the less fortunate, wrapped presents for Christmas, and other things that fulfilled my heart” Said Brenda about her experience with the church. Brenda now attends classes at Texas State University, is a member of two service organizations in campus, and is aspiring to work in the non-profit sector after graduation. Brenda says “Volunteering has been a way to find myself, helping with the needs of others.”
The Aha! moment…
Brenda has learned from volunteering to show gratitude for the life around you. Coming from a family that had very little and watching other students that had so much more was difficult at times but humbling. Her family has always taught her to show love and appreciation because there is always someone that has less, and everyone has their own story. She said she has learned to appreciate all the things she’s given and to always give back in return. In her role with Student Volunteer connection she has learned about team work, professionalism, responsibility and accountability. She’s had several situations where miscommunication has occurred and professionalism and thinking outside the box were most important to fix the situation. She’s learned about planning and organizing events that will carry over to her career one day. She has learned to be very accountable and checking every resource when trying to plan a project or an event. She’s learned to think ahead, and to use other non-profits, consider funding, schedules and locations that are best for everyone. She says she has made several good friends volunteering and has learned the value of finding people who have similar hobbies and interests. The people she has met volunteering have taught her more about herself and volunteering in itself has taught her what she wants to do as a career for the rest of her life.
To summarize it in three words…
Why should you do this
Brenda says that because volunteering has taught her so much that she would always recommend other people volunteer. There are always a variety of volunteer opportunities and people that need help. There are always friends to be made, and projects to be managed. Brenda thought she was unfortunate to have less than other students in school and wanted to participate but she felt fulfilled when helping people that had less than her. She says that volunteering will help you with life goals, career choices, and just being a good citizen and would hope everyone would volunteer at one point or another in their life. She plans on working in non-profit work, and the volunteer sector and is starting an Internship this summer with a national non-profit. If she had never developed a passion for volunteering from her family she may not be as happy as she is today. She will begin planning events near Texas State University that will encourage community members and students to all volunteer. She’s got a great marketing strategy and loves what she does She is great at thinking outside of the box and being creative. There are many people that want to volunteer but don’t know where, how, or what to do. Brenda will help answer these questions and create new relationships over the summer and for years to come. We look forward t seeing what great opportunities she can find or create.