Giving Back

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By:Molly Clarke

When you think of the typical college lifestyle, several things probably come to mind almost immediately. Maybe your impressions of college students are enforced by the massive amount of teen movies and television shows that depict college students as self-absorbed, lazy party animals who never seem to make it to class. Or maybe your opinions on the typical college student stem from real experiences you’ve had or people you’ve met. Perhaps your impression of the average college student consists of a young adult running on cheap food and very little sleep, slaving away in a dark corner of the library in an attempt to someday pass their courses and eventually get a job.

Although it gets more and more difficult to pinpoint the “typical” college student, many people will agree on one thing: College student’s are poor. With very little time in between hectic class schedules and extracurriculars, part-time jobs just aren’t an option for most college students. For those who make the time, the hours are long and the pay-checks are miniscule. Complaints about empty bank accounts can be heard around campuses nation-wide.

With very little spare time or money, the concept of giving-back isn’t very popular with most college students. Often they think about how they’ll scrape up enough money to go out the next night or even pay their rent. However, what many of us don’t think about, are the 46.9 million US citizens that fall under the poverty line. These people’s concerns are larger than rent money. Some don’t know when they’ll eat again, where they’ll have to sleep, or how they are going to keep warm. When put in that perspective, college living actually seems quite comfortable.

In 2010 the US posted the largest number of poverty rates that we’ve seen in 52 years. Although this has some serious implications, there are even more US citizens suffering. Diseases, mental illnesses, abusive relationships, and other countless hardships plague Americans each day. It’s time for college students to do their part to help the less fortunate in our country.

Giving back doesn’t have to mean monetary donations, it can also mean volunteer your time. Volunteering can be a fun way to get off campus with your friends and to feel good about helping a stranger.

Three worthwhile non-profit organizations in the area:

Cradles to Crayons– “Our vision is that one day every child will have the essentials they need to feel safe, warm, ready to learn and valued. Through the Giving Factory, we provide those essentials, as donated clothes, shoes, books and school supplies to homeless and low-income children. We also offer meaningful volunteer opportunities to hundreds of corporations and thousands of individuals and families each year.”

Catching Joy– “Catching Joy promotes volunteerism beginning with young children and their families.  We organize hands-on activities that kids can do to let them feel the joy of giving.”

“e” Inc.– “Our mission is to create dynamic environmental citizens committed to understanding and protecting the Earth. We fulfill this mission by inspiring science competency and developing capable and confident individuals able to take immediate and sustained action to protect our planet.”

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