By Sonya D. Lavett
At Christmas time, we are all reminded of what it means to give back to our communities. Toys for Tots, Salvation Army and many other wonderful charities are at the forefront during this season and they appeal to our spirits of generosity.
What is special about the CSU community is that we continue to give all year long. From our staff and faculty to you, our students and alumni, we all share the spirit of giving each and every day to demonstrate the act of giving back to the people and organizations that are special to us.
It amazes me how individuals just drop priorities, use their own vacation time, and pack vehicles loaded with necessities to deliver to places where others are in dire need. It is always comforting to hear stories of our students and alumni stepping up to help in events like the recent flooding by Hurricane Matthew in Louisiana or the massive fires in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Not only are needed items freely delivered, but services and expertise are also provided to help rebuild a community that has been damaged. No questions asked.
Vicki Barnes, CSU community outreach director, is in charge of seeking out volunteer opportunities and connecting with those around the U.S. where CSU can do the most good. The CSU community spans across the globe. There are so many great opportunities for all of us to get involved and do something that matters.
Here at CSU, some of our favorite organizations to support are Relay for Life, the American Red Cross, the U.S.O., Socks for Shelters, and the Bay Area Local Food Bank.
Vicki recently shared some of the upcoming community outreach initiatives for 2017. “Habitat for Humanity will be a top priority in the coming year. With so many of our students and alumni already involved in this organization, we will be able to take this coast to coast,” Vicki relayed with excitement.
“Soles 4 Souls is another great organization where I believe CSU will have a positive impact. There are drop-off sites in 19 states, as well as Puerto Rico, Canada and Australia. We are planning on hosting a huge shoe drive and getting the entire CSU community involved. We have very exciting things planned for the upcoming year!”
Helping others is the CSU spirit that we all share. Yes, lives are being improved through education, but it goes way beyond that. When we help one another out, we are giving back something that is bigger and more meaningful than anything tangible.
Sometimes, it is just about providing hope and encouragement. This is what we see in social media as our knights cheer one another on and share your reassuring stories. You support one another because you care. That is what truly sets CSU apart from other universities.
Sometimes we provide items, sometimes we give money, and many times, we simply show up and offer a hand to someone in our hometown. Our combined efforts are such a beautiful gift to the world around us.
While your local community may be far from your university campus along the Gulf Coast, we are all united and strengthened by a common purpose: giving back to others to make our world a better, safer and stronger place.