Holiday spirit fuels volunteering

The nostalgic sounds of tinkling bells and festive holiday songs drift through the streets as decorations and sparkling Christmas lights cast a warm glow across the rosy cheeks of joyful teenagers and the grateful hands of the less fortunate. Christmas, the season for giving, is the perfect time for students to give thanks for what they have and lend a helping hand to the many less fortunate who may just need a little extra Christmas joy this holiday season.

Students in clubs such as National Honor Society and National Art Honor Society make it a goal to volunteer during the holidays. These students volunteer to help people, gain knowledge, and rack up some community service hour points.

National Art Honor Society (NAHS) sponsor Lisa Canorro allows her students to choose between a variety of volunteering opportunities, such as collecting money for animal rescue organizations.

“I feel that it is up to the individual to choose what their passion is,” Canorro said.

Students for Humanity vice president Nina Hua agrees.

“Last year, Students for Humanity promised to have more volunteering [options] but did not fulfill the promise,” Hua said.To change this, she then took the initiative to organize more volunteering opportunities with a variety of organizations including Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center.

Senior Jason Quach, president of NHS, volunteers for a mentoring program at Kennedy Elementary and draws satisfaction from helping younger students.

“My drive is teaching kids things they would not have learned until years later,” he said. “I gained insights to the lives of the kids and how they think and socialize with other students of their age. It lets me see how it differs from the interactions between kids of different ages and backgrounds.”

Sophomore Yvonne Taboh gains enjoyment from running for a great cause during the holidays.

“It’s a 5k thing for the holidays [and] goes to different charities,” she said. “I think it’s a fun experience. I have always done it and I think it would be fun to do it again.”

Canorro believes that the most important benefit of community service is self-knowledge.

“They take away the knowledge of the experience themselves,” she said. “Experiencing something new by coming out of their own tiny world. Every time you do something new, you learn and grow.”

Sophomore Rosa Rodas has experienced many new things while volunteering at her church. LIke many other students, taking time out of her schedule has taught Rodas the importance of giving back during the holiday season.

“I learn that I [can] help anyone if I prepare myself to,” she said. “So I help people out because there are places that [don’t] have enough…during the holidays.”