Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

The Grace Space: How to Help Out in Your Community

    This past weekend, Seattle University hosted the seventh annual Dance Marathon (known as SUDM), in accordance with fundraising for Seattle Children’s Hospital’s uncompensated care fund. The event, one of the most popular on the Seattle U campus, is a dancing jubilee that takes place for 16 hours in Campion Ballroom, with performances by school groups, fun activities, snacks and, of course, dancing.

    Although I have participated in SUDM in the past, I unfortunately did not sign up this year, and I have felt sorely about not having done so up to the present. I love SUDM, and I love participating in school events that help to fundraise for various causes; and yet, sometimes, life unfortunately gets in the way, calling you away from helping by means of schoolwork, preparation for projects and actually working.

    While I did not participate this year, I am looking forward to dancing my bunions off at next year’s SUDM; until then, however, I hope to participate in more fundraising and local causes that help the community.

    Hence, I have culminated some ideas for how both you and I can get out and make the community (and possibly the world) a better place. Hope you find some inspiration!

    1. Start here

    Seattle U has some great programs for its students in terms of fundraising and helping those in need. For this upcoming spring break, I will be heading down to New Orleans with a group of 20 students and faculty to help the Shirts Across America project in the devastation that is still present after Hurricane Katrina. This is only one of the service projects available through the school that helps out; there are also projects that go to Costa Rica and Tijuana with Seattle U students and faculty, as well as a ton that work with other universities. Start with the Seattle U website and a visit to the Office of Research Services and Sponsored Projects to find out what you can do to help.

    2. Always be asking

    Even if you aren’t sure as to what’s available, always ask. There’s no harm, no foul, in figuring out what is open! During my time in high school, I would always ask the St. Vincent de Paul charities if they needed volunteers, and it usually worked out for the both of us. Check in with local charities and food banks to see if they need help—there is always a need for volunteers!

    3. Do whatever you can

    Even if the local homeless shelter only needs someone to make coffee, head on in—really, any bit of help counts. If you make a damn good cup of coffee, go show the shelter your magic skills. Remember, helping out is fantastic, no matter how big or how small. As long as you are doing something for others that help the both of you (A.K.A., you get joy from seeing a smile on someone’s face), then go forth.

    4. Listen and learn

    I feel that a lot of people in the younger generation still don’t understand that not everything is about them. Our society functions by a group, not a singular, effort, so step up and listen to others! A lot of people, regardless of whether they are hungry, homeless, elderly, etc., have a great deal of interesting stories that you may not have realized before you speak with them. Go out and learn something that can’t be taught in a classroom; learn about humanity and why our connections are important.

    5. Get pumped up

    First off, you shouldn’t do community service if you’re expecting a reward. Get pumped up about the fact that your reward is a feeling of accomplishment rather than a “thank you” or a check. You should be happy to be a silent contributor rather than the head; get excited about doing something for another person, plain and simple.

    Good luck everyone—I hope you find that service brings you pure happiness and joy!

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    Grace Stetson, Author

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      Genevieve Venable
      Feb 24, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      Another great place to get plugged into your community is through the Center for Service and Community Engagement. You can pursue your passion and find programs and volunteer opportunities through the “Serve Local” part of our website:

      Every two weeks, you can also have our Justice & Service Listserv delivered right to your inbox with upcoming volunteer and service opportunities.

      Or come visit us in the Douglas! 🙂