Volunteer of the Month December 2013



Julia Raap

Major: Women and Gender Studies

Minor: Psychology

Year: Senior

Student Organizations: Triota

We asked Julia a few questions about why she volunteers and some of her past experiences, here's what she had to say:

Q: What is some of the volunteer work you've done?

A: I just finished up my year as a Michigan Service Scholar for which I had an 8 month long placement at the YWCA of West Central Michigan's Girls Inc. program. This is my third year as a Women's Center Ambassador and during that time I have led several Women's Issues Volunteer Corps Days of Service at the Center for Women in Transition, Safe Haven Ministries, Women's Resource Center, Family Futures, Well House, Gilda's Club, Girls Inc., and the American Cancer Society's annual event, Bras Across the Grand. I also frequently volunteer at events for the Women's Center and the Women and Gender Studies program.

Q: What's been your favorite place to volunteer so far?

A: My favorite volunteering experiences are the WIVC Days of Service that I lead as an Women's Center Ambassador because it allows me the chance to work with fellow Lakers, some of which have never volunteered before, and get them engaged and excited about service learning while getting to volunteer variety of organizations throughout the community.

Q: How did you start volunteering?

A: I started volunteering my sophomore year here at GVSU when I became a Women's Center Ambassador. Women's Center Ambassadors lead WIVC Days of Service at organizations in the area that serve women and girls. My first time volunteering was leading a Day of Service to the Center for Women in Transition in Holland.

Q: Why do you volunteer?

A: As college students I believe it becomes so easy to lose sight of the world outside of classes and campus. Service Learning and volunteering offer the opportunity for students to become engaged in causes greater than themselves and partner the knowledge learned in the classroom with real world experience that impacts their own lives and the lives of others within the community.

Q: What has been your most rewarding volunteer experience so far?

A: My most rewarding volunteering experience thus far has been my placement at the YWCA West Central Michigan's Girls Inc. program. Girls Incorporated is a national nonprofit organization that inspires girls to be strong, smart, and bold through programming that builds their self esteem and confidence, set boundaries, and develop healthy relationships.
I originally became involved with Girls Inc. through leading a Day of Service that helped with their Prom Night event and fell in love with the organization and chose to complete my hours there for Michigan Service Scholars and the Women's Community Collaborative. During my time at the organization I was served many in many different roles including co-facilitating after school and summer programming and event planning. This allowed me to work with a variety of girls, ages 9-18 in the Grand Rapids area. I was both a teacher and a student and the lessons that the girls taught me were equally as valuable as the lessons that I was teaching them. It was a life changing experience that I will always cherish.

Q: What do you do when you are not volunteering?

A: When I am not volunteering, I am involved in the Women's Center Ambassador program, serving as the Vice President of Membership of Triota, and am the Peer Mentor of the Women's Leadership House. I enjoy reading, blogging, and hanging out with friends. I also love marathon viewing and fangirling over my favorite TV shows: Supernatural, Doctor Who, and Sherlock.