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Volunteer spirit goes beyond BG Gives Back Day

Parul Kumar, editor-in-chief

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The second annual “BG Gives Back” day is returning on April 6 after major success last year with over 2,100 students spending two hours committed to community service. The value of volunteerism, however, has stuck with BG students and staff for the rest of the year as several members of the school community volunteer outside of this day.

Volunteerism and service makes a ripple effect that reaches so many people, from the person who directly impacted to their peers and  family and even the volunteer themselves,” senior Jasmine Yi said.

The benefits to volunteering for the volunteers themselves are very real. The  psychological “do good-feel good phenomenon” dictates that when someone acts altruistically and helps other people, their self-esteem rises and makes them feel better.

“Especially as a high school student, you don’t typically learn a lot of interpersonal skills until you enter the workforce,” senior Sara Chaker said. “By beginning to gain these skills and experience at such an early age through volunteering, it will only grow exponentially as you continue your lives after high school.”

According to a study done by the Huffington Post, many colleges like Washington University in St. Louis and University of California at Irvine place the act of volunteering highly on a scale of what they’d like to see in applicants. However, the primary reason to volunteer may simply be to simply help out.

“There has definitely been a big push to make sure students take the time to help others,” Chaker said. “I feel like there’s always going to be a need for people to contribute their time whether it be tutoring another student or helping a whole community.”

Many clubs and organizations at BG have incorporated volunteerism into part of their itineraries and missions: National Honors Society has a required eight service hours per semester, Student Council has raised money for hurricane victims, BG Cares and Interact both are completely dedicated to the idea of helping out in and out of the school community, respectively.

“After BG Gives Back day, there was a cultural shift where students and staff did look forward volunteering past just one day.” assistant principal Mark Schaetzlein said. “It was easier to garner NHS hours but the impact of volunteering has grown with increased amounts of students in Interact and other things.”

Outside of BG Gives Back, there are a multitude of opportunities for giving back such as working at hospitals, volunteering at Feed My Starving Children and donating clothes to homeless shelters. Even if these opportunities don’t appeal to someone, there is always a way to help out if students want to forge their own path to volunteering.

Volunteering should be done through a calling or purpose,” Yi said. “The magnitude of someone’s service can’t be measured by other people. If it comes from a person’s passion and authenticity, it’s enough.”

To start early, BG Gives Back Day will be holding a variety of drives to collect material goods before April 6,  starting on March 12-23. While BG Gives Back day marks the start of an important tradition of school-sponsored service, it is pertinent that students and staff will keep giving back after BG.

“Volunteering might make you think that you’re only helping that one person, but there is more,” Schaetzlein said. “We want to be servants for the community.”

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