From walking homeless dogs, to reading with first graders, there are a myriad of volunteer opportunities available for Mines students in the Golden area. However, the large amount of time that students spend on campus means that it is sometimes all too easy to miss out on the perfect activity.
“There are always lots of students looking for ways to get involved,” explains Sam Anderson-Lehman, Graduate Assistant for Student Engagement. To fill this need, Anderson-Lehman coordinated Mines first ever Student Service Fair, which took place in the Student Center Ballrooms last week.
“The fair included everything from on-campus clubs to organizations with a national focus,” says Anderson Lehman. Over 20 groups attended, including Mines Without Borders (MWB), Partnerships in Primary Education, and Live by Living.
“If you are looking for a high-energy, ever-changing environment, this is the place for you,” asserts Boys and Girls’ Club Volunteer Coordinator Liz Fraley. Boys and Girls’ Club has 15 sites in the Denver Metro area and serves over 1,000 at-risk youth ages 6-18 years old. Mines volunteers can drop in anytime 3-9 pm Monday through Friday and mentor students in reading, athletics, technology and robotics, or art.
Connecting Mines students with disadvantaged youth is a primary focus for a number of the organizations that attended. For instance, Camp Wapiyapi, a summer camp for children battling cancer, matches each volunteer with an attendee for weeklong summer sessions.
“Volunteering for even one week is such a rewarding experience,” says James Zerr, a summer 2015 Camp Wapiyapi volunteer.
Other volunteer opportunities involving youth work include Reading Partners, a nationwide initiative to help children struggling with reading; Partnerships in Primary Education, a program that strives to bring college students to elementary schools for an hour a week; and Kullerstrand Elementary Volunteering, which brings community role models to students attending the Title I school.
For animal-loving students short on time, the Homeless Boxer Care Rescue Mission may be the perfect opportunity.
“We actually do not commit at all,” declares Amy Caldwell, the Boxer Rescue Event Coordinator. The Denver-based program, which strives to find forever homes for the dogs, needs volunteers to walk the boxers on Sunday afternoons. While there is no long-term commitment, the experience is a great opportunity for students to spend time with pets and the boxers to receive attention and exercise.
Also in Denver is the History Colorado Center, which needs student volunteers to lead educational tours and help with customer service.
“It is not what people normally associate with volunteer opportunities,” asserts Steve Luebke of History Colorado School Programs. The museum is also looking for interns interested in working with elementary students and students interested in geographic information science (GIS) and its archaeological implications.
All in all, engaging Mines students with the community is something that the Student Activities office hopes to continue pursuing.
“We absolutely love Mines students,” said a Habitat for Humanity volunteer coordinator at the fair. “They are so helpful and we really appreciate their support.”
For more information about these organizations or more community service opportunities in the area, please contact Sam Anderson-Lehman at email@example.com.