How Much Does A Helping Hand Cost?

Didier Delphin

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The Institute for Community Engagement and Civic Leadership (ICECL/The Institute), is devoted to volunteerism, community partnerships, and service learning. This storehouse — filled with effervescent energy of goodwill — roots itself on the main campus of Community College of Philadelphia. Liken to head-of-household, there are two key individuals at The Institute who devote their time and effort captaining a goal towards a great cause – Michelle Lopez, program coordinator and Raia Santos, co-coordinator. Through Ms. Lopez’s long career of volunteerism with previous organizations and her position now here as coordinator at the college, she has enabled many individuals to achieve unimaginable goals.

On August 3, 2018, the ICECL held a workshop facilitated by Ms. Santos at the college’s Winnet ‘Student Life’ Building, where students who attended were able to learn more about community service volunteering, while being exposed to a plethora of organizations that hold such positions. Recently, The Institute partnered with Spring Garden School, an elementary k-8 academic institution whose purpose embraces a secure educational environment, giving all students an opportunity to achieve academic excellence.

Ms. Santos is not only the co-coordinator for The Institute, but is a student at Community College of Philadelphia. As a scholar and a volunteer, her indisputable leadership role has played a key part in the successful outcomes of the campus events. In fact, Ms. Santos is viewed by many of her peers as an icon in community service. It is often stated that individuals are overwhelmed by priorities in their daily lives, yet that myth is debunked by these two coordinators —Lopez and Santos, who show that balancing time management coupled with their commitment and the heart to succeed is what allows them to selflessly give back.

During The Institute’s workshop on volunteerism, several slide show presentations were given on how to start volunteering in the community and what to expect from recipients who are being serviced.  Latonya Davis, a workshop participant stated: “Giving back to the community, helping others, it builds character while living”.With an emphasis on supporting children, the slides included topics that ranged from detecting signs of child abuse, to different types of children’s behaviors, to checking and securing background documentations needed when working with children.

Eugene, a former student of CCP and ICECL volunteer revealed that he contains a deeper connection with community service, stating the following: “Volunteering in my neighborhood while in a wheelchair not only helps the people, but it helps me too.” Anyone can volunteer. It is a great opportunity to unearth hidden skills and to learn new ones. Old or new found, the benefit of tapping into your skills is that it inwardly and outwardly reflects the true meaning of being human.

For more information on how to start volunteering and discovering what organizations you want to champion, please contact The Institute for Community Engagement and Civic Leadership at— [email protected]  ALSO, IF YOU NOTICE CHILD ABUSE, PLEASE CALL THE CHILD ABUSE HOTLINE AT 1-800-932-0313.

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How Much Does A Helping Hand Cost?