Volunteer of the Month January 2014

Cailtin Wood

Major: Biomedical Sciences

Minor: Business

Year: Senior

Student Organizations:
Alternative Breaks Gamma Phi Beta

We asked Caitlin 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: For Alternative Breaks I have gone on three trips to St. Louis, MO, Soddy Daisy, TN, and was a site leader for Houston, TX, I helped sort trash and recycling and at a Zero Waste Football Game, I have done 3 Make A Difference Days, 3 MLK Jr. Days of Service, I have helped paint cabins, clean the activity center, and sort a library at Camp Blodgett, I have sorted and boxed food at Feeding America, I have made lunch bags for Kids' Food Basket, I have cleared trails at Blandford Nature Center, I have done office work and sorted food at the Guiding Light Mission, cleared the playground at Harrison Park School, and worked Laker Experience Day and Science Olympiad, I have been a Transitions leader twice, I have also participated and raised money in Relay for Life every year, raised money for Campfire and Family Promise.

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

A: My favorite place to volunteer this year has been Camp Blodgett, which is a summer camp as well as an after school program for kids. I am the Community Service Chairwoman for Gamma Phi Beta and so I try to help out at Camp Blodgett every chance possible because it is our local philanthropy. I love Camp Blodgett because they host underprivileged kids and do not turn anyone away because their families are not capable of paying. Even though it is the off season for camp, we have gone to Camp Blodgett to do grounds cleaning, put 100 bikes away for winter, painted cabins, and cleared roads and paths so when they kids come back they can have an awesome summer camp experience!

Q: How did you start volunteering?

A: I started volunteering my sophomore year by going to Service Saturdays hosted by Alternative Breaks. Then from there I went on an AB trip, became the Community Service Chairwoman for Gamma Phi Beta, and have been volunteering every opportunity ever since.

Q: Why do you volunteer?

A: I volunteer because it is my way of leaving a positive mark on the community and world. I know it makes me a better person inside and out, and I have definitely grow and gained knowledge from all the different opportunities I have come across.

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

A: The most rewarding place I have ever volunteered was at Gateway Greening in St. Louis, Missouri during an Alternative Breaks trip. One of the days we worked with an AmeriCorps representative by preparing a garden for the summer season to come. It was one of the best volunteer experiences of my life because the garden we were laying dirt and pulling roots out of was what would be some homeless people's only life possessions. Since most of them do not own nice or very many things, the garden gives them that one thing they can call their own and take credit for growing vegetables.

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

A: When I am not volunteering, I am either studying my life away, hanging out with my friends, working out, or doing things for the other clubs I am involved in.
Caitlin also has set a personal goal of 300 community service hours by the end of this year! Here's what she had to say about that:

As of right now I have 250 community service hours and 47 philanthropy hours, it is my personal goal to get 300 hours by the end of the year. I set this goal for myself because volunteering is truly a passion of mine and since I'm a competitive person I love trying to achieve things. It is honestly not about how many hours I get by the end of the year that matter the most to me, it is about all the different experiences and new knowledge I gain from each volunteering opportunity. Also, volunteering is always more fun when your friends or other people who share the same interest do it with you! I have met some incredible person while volunteering and that's why you should step out of your comfort zone and make a difference in our world and community!