Lynne McCue-Hamilton, community work study coordinator at the Thayne Center for Service and Learning, says that volunteering is an excellent way to gain knowledge and skills useful for students’ future professional careers. She provides information about volunteer opportunities available in our community for the student population.
Last Thursday, Nov. 14, in the Alumni Room at South City Campus, McCue-Hamilton’s presentation was part of a workshop organized by the group “Una Mano Amiga (A Helping Hand).”
McCue-Hamilton focused on volunteering as a way to gain skills and experience in the field even before finishing school. She pointed out that there are no special requirements to be a volunteer.
“Everybody can be a volunteer,” McCue-Hamilton says.
She indicated that we all have talents and skills that can be used to help others who are in need. The idea is to identify those talents and skills and be willing to give.
“For example, how many languages do you speak?” she asks.
McCue-Hamilton indicated that there are many immigrant students all over Utah that need help in learning English and making a transition to the American educational system.
Luis Moran shared his experience of what it looks like to be a newcomer at Utah schools. He came from Venezuela, without knowing English, and spent a few months looking around the ceiling and walls of the classroom because he did not know how to speak the language.
“I just didn’t know what they were talking about in class,” Moran says.
Moran recalls that, unfortunately, there was not enough help for students to make that transition. He mostly had to work on his own.
“I didn’t receive help when I was a newcomer.” Moran says. “We need to educate people about the ways they can help others with their talents and skills.”
Moran uses his skills in three languages to mentor other newcomer students from different countries of the world.
Moran feels there is a great need for learning and helping each other, because it is the only way to succeed. He joined the group, Una Mano Amiga, hoping to enhance his leadership skills to continue helping others. He plans to pursue a degree at SLCC after he finishes his high school.
McCue-Hamilton says that there are many ways to volunteer in our schools and community. She works closely with different local organizations and businesses that offer volunteer opportunities for anyone interested.
McCue-Hamilton encouraged the audience at the workshop to take advantage of these opportunities because it will help to gain knowledge, skills and experience useful for their future professional careers.
“Find a volunteer opportunity according to your interests. See what your passion is and build your resume with this experience in it,” McCue-Hamilton says.
McCue-Hamilton says that students with volunteer experience will attract more jobs opportunities.
“Employers would prefer candidates who are passionate about their careers,” McCue-Hamilton says.
She indicated that the volunteer experience tells employers a lot about your interests, talents, skills, ethics, values and potential.
“Wherever you come from, you can share your lived experience to help others to succeed,” McCue-Hamilton says.
Un Mano Amiga is a SLCC group organized two years ago that plans workshops and other activities that educate students about academic resources and opportunities available at SLCC.
It works closely with Latino high school students and assists them in having an easy transition to college life and also helps to decrease the dropout rates in the educational system. Un Mano Amiga was organized with the mission of promoting, learning, growing and sharing together in a safe and motivated environment.