CSN Students Volunteer at Opportunity Village

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Opportunity Village Thrift Store

By Jeff Knight

College of Southern Nevada’s fall term is in full swing and the holiday season is fast approaching. Local organizations are looking for volunteers and students are looking for ways to serve.

Opportunity Village Inc., a non-profit organization serving people in Southern Nevada with intellectual disabilities, as well as other service organizations such as Three Square and The Salvation Army, has seen incredible growth and success due to the volunteer efforts of the Las Vegas community, with CSN students leading the way.

According to Alejandra Romero, service-learning volunteer coordinator for CSN Serves, a part of Student Life and Leadership Development, “Approximately 20 volunteers, beginning in the summer of 2010, quickly grew to 500 to 600 volunteers today. These volunteers amassed 8,000 to 9,000 hours of community service for many help organizations.”

A recent study shows a correlation between volunteering and college success.

According to a recent study by Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, an independent agency that conducts research on higher education, students who participate in school-required community service are 22 percent more likely to graduate from college than those that do not.

“I believe there are many psychological benefits for volunteering,” says Candy Nolan, psychology instructor at CSN. Volunteering can raise people’s self-esteem levels and allow them to find out more about themselves. Nolan adds, “It broadens work experience and develops various skills that could most likely be applied to a career choice.”

Volunteering for local Las Vegas charities, like Opportunity Village, is a great way to get experience.

“We will be launching our OV Nation initiative soon,” says Marty Wood, marketing director for Opportunity Village. “The program is designed to identify, motivate and engage Opportunity Village’s next generation of donors, volunteers, advisors and board members.” Emphasis will be placed on the use of social media in order to get young people, including CSN students, involved.

Additionally, Opportunity Village was named a top-five rehabilitation-service provider in the United States by the Social Security Administration, saving taxpayers more than $33.7 million a year, according to Opportunity Village’s website. It does this by funding its own programs through donations; thereby, reducing reliance on government support.

Opportunity Village is one of many organizations to partner with CSN Serves to provide invaluable volunteer experience for students. According to its website, its newest event called HallOVeen begins October 4 and provides a great opportunity to serve. Its largest event Magical Forest, a holiday wonderland with decorated trees, requires many volunteers each night. CSN staff and students take part each year.

To volunteer for help organization contact CSN Serves at 651-4698 or visit http://www.csn.edu/pages/2634.asp.

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