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SCHS hosted its first Volunteer Fair to support students to connect with the community

Students learned about various volunteering opportunities.

Students learned about various volunteering opportunities.

Eunice Oh

Eunice Oh

Students learned about various volunteering opportunities.

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Local organizations attended SCHS’s first Volunteer Fair on Tuesday to encourage high school volunteership.

Vocational education teacher Dolores Melin had the idea to organize the fair when she realized many seniors she worked with had not completed their community service graduation requirement. All SCHS students must complete a total of 20 hours of community service by the end of their senior year. Melin wanted to spread awareness of the variety of volunteer opportunities available and possibly transition some volunteer interests into future careers.

“A lot of times careers start off as volunteer opportunities or internships,” Melin said. “It’s a thoughtful process to make people think about the world outside of school.”

Melin geared the volunteer fair toward seniors, but students in other grades were given an opportunity to learn about volunteering. For freshman Cleo Litao, the fair’s display of local organizations was very informative.

Some of the organizations present at the fair were the Salvation Army and the Santa Clara Parks and Recreations. Richard Casem, a staff member of Santa Clara Parks and Recreation, said their organization prioritizes SCHS students because of their close relationship with the school. According to Casem, many of the staff at the organization are alumni from SCHS.

The Salvation Army has a nearby location on Homestead Road and has been most prevalent in Santa Clara County for the past 130 years, but the organization is also active in third world countries and assists with issues such as disaster relief, according to its website. Volunteer coordinator Liwayway Gimenez emphasized the volunteer opportunities during the upcoming holidays, including its Toy N’ Joy store setup and prep during the Christmas time.

Other organizations present were Heart of the Valley, Ulistac Natural Area and Teen Challenge.

According to staff member Kevin Rogers, some volunteer opportunities Teen Challenge offers include wrapping Christmas presents for economically disadvantaged children and tutoring. Teen Challenge centers located in northwest California also help locals with addictions and homelessness. Rogers said Teen Challenge assisted him in overcoming a methamphetamine addiction.

The importance of high schoolers volunteering, Rogers stated, is to spread the knowledge and awareness of the purpose of Teen Challenge.

“Everybody knows somebody who has an addiction or knows someone with drugs,” Rogers said.

The purpose of volunteering according to Melin, is to “help other people or other organizations, or whatever you’re passionate about.”

Eunice Oh
Some of the organizations present at the Fair were Central Park Library and Teen Challenge.

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SCHS hosted its first Volunteer Fair to support students to connect with the community