By Stephanie Garza
SAN ANTONIO— The day of service, known as vOLLUnteer IMPACT, is once again upon us and all members of the Our Lady of the Lake community are invited to sign-up. IMPACT gives OLLU members, especially students involved in student organizations, an opportunity to go out into the community surrounding the Lake and give back. This annual spring event, sponsored by the vOLLUnteer Unity Council, is an OLLU tradition that started in 2000. This year, IMPACT falls on Saturday, April 7.
Volunteerism is a special part of who we are as a community at OLLU. Sarah Resendez, Student Director of Programming, said that IMPACT is beneficial to both the vOLLUnteer Unity Council and OLLU.
“IMPACT enables the VUC to recruit volunteers for larger projects and it reflects the spirit and mission of the University, as well as encourages a relationship with the Sisters of the Congregation of Divine Providence, especially through theological reflection,” said Resendez.
IMPACT is a unique volunteer experience because it allows students to participate in service projects on a larger scale and volunteer with their peers.
“We hope that today’s service will inspire volunteers to develop a long-term relationship between themselves, the other volunteers, and the Westside service providers,” said Resendez.
IMPACT will kick off at 8 a.m. in the Library Community Room. After check-in, volunteers will spend three hours (9 a.m. to 12 p.m.) at one of the four projects. Book Buddies, American Sunrise, St. PJ’s Children’s Home and Guadalupe Community Center are this year’s four nonprofit community partners. Mari Shanahan, Student Director of Projects, said that the VUC find potential partners by looking for places that need a strong volunteer group.
“We contact local San Antonio community partners and make decisions as a team to decide where to volunteer. We fit projects together like a puzzle to help our community in an impactful way,” said Shanahan.
After all of the volunteers return from their service projects, they will receive a free lunch and giveaways in the Library Community Room from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. During this time, volunteers will also have the opportunity to reflect on their experience with a theological reflection facilitated by the Sisters of Divine Providence.
There are still a few spots available for this year’s IMPACT so people who are interested in volunteering are encouraged to sign-up in advance in the Center for Service-Learning & Volunteerism, Worden Building, room 23.
If you can’t make this year’s IMPACT don’t worry, there will be more opportunities to make a difference this year. The VUC has opportunities with retired Sisters of Divine Providence almost weekly on the OLLU campus.
“This is a perfect way to spend time helping your OLLU community in between class, Monday-Friday,” said Resendez.
There are also volunteer projects at McCullough Hall Nursing Home that include bingo, dominoes, arts and crafts, and other fun interactive activities. For more information on these volunteer opportunities and more, stop by the CSLV. Volunteers must complete a background check, located in the CSLV, one week prior to volunteering. Once you are cleared you will be able to volunteer for any of the projects the rest of the year.