Volunteers Needed in Hard Times

By Chelsey Emanuel

Volunteer opportunities are limited this year due to COVID-19 but some College of Southern Nevada students find ways to give back.

Director of Student Life and Leadership Development at CSN Brian Akins said, “COVID-19 shut everything down.” Approximately 30 nonprofits closed that typically would afford volunteer opportunities for CSN students to participate in. Though there are limited options, there is still a great need.

One group at CSN that was able to contribute during this time was the Lady Coyotes Softball team.

The team had its first opportunity this year to volunteer in September at Three Square Food Bank, which provides food assistance to residents of Clark, Esmeralda and Lincoln Counties. The Lady Coyotes typically spend hundreds-of-hours volunteering per year committing to one-to-two community efforts per month at organizations including the following: Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Opportunity Village and United Way.  

Head Softball Coach Ashley Johnston, who participated at Three Square, said typically the team gives 500-plus hours a year but this year is different though the Ladies embraced this opportunity to give back.

We are helping to load vehicles for the less fortunate during this pandemic: loading over 350 vehicles,” Johnston said. “Pre-COVID, we normally go to (Three Square) and pack meals for children. We have packed over 16,000 meals.” The organization found a way to reduce contact and keep things safe for volunteers during this time, which was important for the Lady Coyotes.

According to Volunteer Match, an organization that makes the link between people who want to give and people who need help, there are currently 270,000 volunteer opportunities nationwide with nearly 4,200 of those in Las Vegas. There is still a great need though times have complicated things.  

Other students are finding ways to give back.

CSN student Tyler Davis said, “I’ve been wanting for me and my family to give back in such bad times… so we decided to shop for food to donate instead.” He gave food to his child’s school. He also spends free time giving flu shots to the elderly.

“Now is the time to consider new protocols for volunteers and new procedures to deliver services, while being thoughtful and strategic about risk management and stewarding resources wisely,” according to Sterling Volunteers’ website, a group that works with non-profits. “There are examples from all around the country of organizations who have responded quickly with new protocols.” CSN hopes to use some of those new protocols to help students get back out there to volunteer safely.

%d bloggers like this: