By Ashley Festa
This summer, UIW has found service opportunities overflowing at the Willie C. Velasquez Community Family Resource and Learning Center.
Dr. Harold Rodinsky, founder of UIW’s annual Meet the Mission service event, has been working with the center to find volunteer projects for students that would fulfill the needs of the neighborhood. One of the projects put volunteers in charge of painting houses for elderly homeowners who physically cannot do the work or who can’t afford it. Later in the summer, there will be yard cleanups and volunteer mentors in the center’s computer lab.
“It’s in a neighborhood where many of our students came from, their families are still living there, and the Sisters have service initiatives there,” Rodinsky said.
Service has always been important to the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, founders of UIW. These projects are an extension of the Sisters’ Mission and also a chance for our students, and anyone else who would like to join, to learn about the benefits of volunteering, both to the giver and the receiver.
“We’re trying for the first time to have regular Monday activities for the rest of the summer, focusing in that neighborhood, collaborating with the city and that agency,” Rodinsky said. He emphasized that new projects will develop over the summer.
“Where we go from here depends on how creative we can be,” Rodinsky said. “How we can be of service to that neighborhood.”
Volunteer opportunities such as these also provide an extra connection between faculty and students who work together on the projects. Those relationships grow stronger, and the benefits spill over into the classroom and students’ personal lives.
“We need to introduce students to aspects of the Mission by actually doing things with them,” said Rodinsky, assistant professor of psychology at UIW.
Rodinsky encourages everyone at the university and in the San Antonio community to participate and enjoy the benefits of volunteer work.
“It’s open. The more the better. The more we have, the more work we can do.”