Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Making a difference By Ana Bedon

On Tuesday, Aug. 14, we sat down with Ethel Ngene and Nailah Williamson of Volunteer GGC to discuss projects at play for those making a difference. Volunteer GGC is an organization that gives students the opportunity to perform community service on campus and in neighboring communities through metro Atlanta.
Mr. Allen Clarke is the coordinator of the organization since Volunteer GGC first started. Clarke — along with other GGC staff — saw that Georgia Gwinnett College needed a student learning and community engagement program that gave students the chance to grow and improve their local communities. Volunteer GGC was started, and student leaders on campus started to join. The organization now has six student assistants who help plan and coordinate service projects throughout the year.

Feeding the homeless, visiting homeless shelters and charity events are some of the many service projects Volunteer GGC has done. They assisted cleaning a new building at Rainbow Village — a homeless shelter located in Duluth — where homeless families with children can find refuge and learn to rebuild their lives with the love and support of a community-based family surrounding them.  Volunteer GGC spent three to four hours cleaning the building, and the team spirit was vibrant and caused them to be more united as a group.

“It was an amazing experience that impacted all of the students and staff that attended,” Williamson, a member of Volunteer GGC, said.

Another service project they worked on was preparing meals for patients and residents at Wishes 4 Me Foundation. Wishes 4 Me Foundation is a non-profit organization located in Lawrenceville that assists adults with disabilities to live a more active and involved lifestyle. It was founded on the belief that giving up is never an option and it ranges from age 18 and up. Volunteer GGC was privileged to socialize with the patients there by playing games, and reading books.

“The experience was emotional, educational and very satisfying” Ngene, a member of Volunteer GGC, said.

The GGC Community Garden is one of Volunteer GGC’s signature events. The Community Garden is in collaboration with the Lawrenceville community as their produce is donated to the Lawrenceville co-op to feed those in need. This program allows students to have the experience of sowing, watering, fertilizing and reaping the produce of the Garden. They are also allowed to participate in the donating the produce and to see the impact they are having on their community. They volunteer two to three times each semester, and this will be one of the service learning programs here at GGC this Fall Semester.

Volunteer GGC, the office of Student Involvement and the Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS) are also hosting a Back to School Drive to donate school supplies to Rainbow Village and Graves Elementary School located in Norcross.  

There are two locations you can drop off your donations. One is at the Student Center, 2nd floor, and also in A building in front of Chick Fil A. They will deliver all donations the first week of October.

Why should we care? When I asked members of Volunteer GGC why they care about volunteering, Williamson replied, “Because we enjoy helping out and giving back to our community.”
Ngene also stated, “I enjoy helping others, and I would like for more students to get involved and join Volunteer GGC.”

One of Georgia Gwinnett College’s four pillars is Service, and this organization knows exactly how to represent it. All of their events are open to GGC students and staff and are usually on Fridays or Saturdays. As members of the Georgia Gwinnett College community, we should all make time out of our busy schedules and get involved with our local community.

If you are a new student, welcome to Georgia Gwinnett College, and please know there are many ways you can get involved. Volunteer GGC is one of many organizations you can join on campus that will help you gain and develop your leadership skills and help you make a difference in your community. Remember, “Don’t make excuses, make a difference!”

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