By AmeriCorps member, Amanda Gauthier
December 2nd kicked off the second annual Season of Service. This month long event encourages families to serve together during the holiday season. At the Orientation dinner, volunteers were treated to presentations from non-profits such as Volunteer Chore Service, Hope House, and the Teen Closet among others. The volunteers were then given the chance to sign up for shifts at the various locations.
The runaway favorite was SpokAnimal. As a SpokAnimal volunteer, your duty was to socialize the animals. This meant walking the dogs around the block enough times to let them burn off some energy and holding the kittens for as long as they would let you. It was hard to tell who enjoyed this activity more, the volunteers or the animals.
Another favorite was Project Christmas Joy. This was an opportunity for volunteers to deliver gifts to children in Sacred Heart. After sorting and dividing the gift bags, the adults delivered the gifts to the rooms, while the children were treated to a tour of the hospital. We delivered to infants, teenagers and all ages in between. This was a powerful experience for all involved.
The final highlight was one of the card deliveries. Throughout December, volunteers (such as children at the YWCA, the University High School SPoCS program, and the Franklin Elementary APPLE kids) created holiday cards. These cards were then delivered to multiple locations. One such location was the nursing home in the VA Hospital. The volunteer group consisted of three elementary school girls, their mom, two high school girls and myself. As we were lead from room to room by a nurse, we chatted with the veterans and handed out cards. This group of volunteers was amazing. By the last few rooms the girls were wishing “happy holidays” in unison and brightening the rooms as they went. We all had a great time visiting with the veterans.
Overall, over 50 people participated in Season of Service. Combined they served over 250 hours at more than 10 locations. This was more than I had hoped for and I hope that many will return and partake in Season of Service 2009.