Though summer service is completed, three students continue to help others

By Victoria Slater ’10 and Ceri Turner ’10

Volunteering is so often written off as just one more mandatory commitment to the school—another groan-worthy, school-related hardship to endure. With summer service forms completed and submitted, many students push the thought of volunteering far into the forgottten corners of their minds only to be discovered next summer.

However, even with the six hour mandatory school commitment completed, logged and credited, juniors Anna Robinson, Gabby Ramsey and senior Erin O’Brien continue to experience the benefits of volunteering throughout the 2010-2011 school year.

Junior Anna Robinson volunteers weekly at Riverside Methodist Hospital. As a dedicated candystriper, Robinson holds volunteering in high esteem.

“Volunteering is very important to me,” she said.” Usually, I try to volunteer for about four or five hours every Saturday morning. I think that it’s very important to give back to your community when you can.”

Robinson also speaks of her own personal satisfaction, gained while assisting others during her service hours at the hospital.

“Most people think that volunteering at the hospital would be boring, but it’s actually extremely fun,” she said. “There are high-school kids from all over Columbus who also volunteer so it’s a great way to meet people.”

Junior Gabby Ramsey is a regular at the Capital Area Humane Society. A life-long animal lover, Ramsey works primarily with the adoptable dogs at the shelter.

“It is really rewarding helping the dogs… while they are waiting to find a home,” she said. “It is great being able to give them some much needed attention.”

Senior Erin O’Brien also incorporates her love for animals with her volunteering. O’Brien raises puppies for Pilot Dogs, Inc., an organization that trains dogs to be guides for the blind. O’Brien and her family are “puppy-rasiers;” it is their responsibility to care for, teach and socialize the puppy for about a year from the time the dog is about seven weeks old.

“My family and I have raised seven puppies for Pilot Dogs,” she said. “It is really hard to give each puppy back, but it always helps to remember the huge impact they’ll have on their blind owner.”

O’Brien’s extensive volunteer work has left her with fond memories and lasting impressions. Her experiences have been undeniably rewarding and will remain a part of who she is.

“I have been volunteering most of my life, so it is just a part of who I am,” she said. “I really can’t imagine what my life would be like if I wasn’t always helping someone.”

Pilot Dogs, INC.

Who: All animal lovers are eligible to participate in the Pilot Dogs program.

What: “Puppy Raisers” are responsible for the early care, training and socialization of a future seeing-eye dog. The puppy is raised in the home as a pet, much as one would raise his or her own dog.

When: Litters arrive sporadically throughout the year, so there are no application deadlines. Pups are placed into homes at 7 to 10 weeks of age. They will be kept in the home until they are 12 to 14 months of age.

Where: The dogs will be picked up and dropped off at Pilot Dogs, Inc. on West Town Street in Columbus, Ohio.

How: Potential puppy raisers need to complete the puppy raiser application found on the Pilot Dogs website. A puppy is placed in the raiser’s home at the earliest opportunity.

Riverside Methodist Hospital

Who: Ages 15+

What: “Volunteens” and “candystripers” at Riverside are responsible for helping on patient floors by visiting patients, answering call lights, picking up and delivering meal trays, discharging patients,greeting and guiding visitors and delivering flowers among a variety of other duties.

When: Volunteers must commit to a minimum of 8.5 hours of service each month.

How: Teens must participate in an extensive application process, including interviews, recommendations and a formal application. Potential volunteers should visit the hospital’s website to obtain more information and the necessary forms.

Capital Area Humane Society

Who: Ages 16 and older, but ages 12-15 are allowed to volunteer if accompanied by an adult at all times.

What: Volunteers are responsible for dog walking, cat care and rabbit socialization. They deal solely with adoptable animals.

When: The shelter is open weekdays from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. The volunteer program runs the same hours as the shelter.

How: Attend a New Volunteer Orientation session, which are predicated on the Society’s website. Sessions last approximately one hour. The next orientation session is on Thursday, October 21, at 6 p.m.