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Do you Volunteer?



Poet and social activist Dr. Maya Angelou once wrote,

I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.

Students across Tampa Bay should take her words to heart and participate in the 19th annual National and Global Youth Service Day on April 20. Millions of young people across the country are planning projects to benefit their communities, from tutoring children to distributing materials about AIDS prevention. They are also teaching about good nutrition and climate change and helping soldiers stationed in—or returning from Iraq.

One local volunteer recently featured in the St Petersburg Times is Natasha Robinson, a Gibbs High School graduate. At first, the allure of a college scholarship is what drew Natasha to AmeriCorps, an organization that connects youth volunteers with community service projects. But after spending 10 months helping Hurricane Katrina victims along the Gulf Coast, the program delivered many more rewards.
"I realized that I was in a better environment than the one I grew up in," said Robinson, 25, who was reared in the Childs Park area. "I realized that there was something better."

Robinson helped build houses in the Jackson, Miss., area; tutored school children in New Orleans; and passed out food, water and supplies to Katrina victims. She found the experience so rewarding she joined for a second year.

Like Natasha, you may find that the person who benefits the most from volunteering is YOU!

How do you give back to your community? What skills and interests do you have that could make a difference for a local organization in need? Tell us about your experiences volunteering and what organizations are near and dear to your heart. If you are organizing an event for Youth Service Day, give us the 411!

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:37am]


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