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Lending A Helping Hand

Columbia is full of active students looking for creative and fun ways to lend a helping hand.  The city does not let those students down. CoMo has a multitude of volunteer activities available. Whether you love animals, kids or keeping parks clean, Columbia surely has something for you. Her Campus Mizzou picked five of the many different ways in which you can use your interests while helping others.

For the Artsy Volunteer:  The Creativation Project
The Creativation Project is a volunteer program that hopes to inspire children to be creative and artistic as they gain friendships. Its volunteers visit local hospitals and youth organizations in order to be positive role models for the young artists. In addition the organization aims to expand the children’s love and knowledge for the arts. The Creativation Project was started by Mizzou student Lauren Rundquist. If you would like more information or to see some of the artwork created through the project, check out their Facebook page or email them at creativationproject@aol.com.

For the Animal-Lover Volunteer:  Cedar Creek Therapeutic Riding Center
Even if animals are not your thing, if you like working one-on-one with others, Cedar Creek is for you. Cedar Creek has been offering therapeutic horseback riding lessons for those with disabilities for more than 20 years. As a volunteer, you can walk alongside the riders to stabilize, talk and support them. In the process you will build relationships with them as they build confidence and make personal improvements. No horse experience is needed, and all volunteers will sign up for one 2-hour session per week for eight weeks. To volunteer for the spring session, visit Cedar Creek’s website or call (573) 875-8556.

(Photo credit: cedarcreek.missouri.org)

For the Food-Lover Volunteer:  Central Missouri Food Bank
Even though you cannot eat while volunteering at the Central Missouri Food Bank, you can find gratification in knowing that because of your hard work, somebody else will get to enjoy some food. Whether packaging hot dogs (don’t worry, they provide gloves) or scooping up eggplant, there is sure to be something for you to do. Hours vary, and you can either go solo or bring a group of friends just one time or on a regular basis. With your friends there, you are guaranteed to have a fun time talking, laughing and doing a service for those in need. If interested, please contact the Central Missouri Food Bank at (573) 474-1020. A volunteer schedule and checklist are available on their website.

For the Looking-for-an-Annual-Activity Volunteer:  Cleanup Columbia
Every spring Columbia’s finest come out to clean up the city and to make it really sparkle. Basically, Cleanup Columbia is a huge trash pickup day.  Last spring’s cleanup had 1,465 volunteers, 1,726 bags of trash and 2,642 hours of service for just this one day. With your help the event can be even more successful in 2012. This year’s event is Saturday, April 14. You can start anytime before 10 a.m. and will be finished by noon. For more information or to register your group, visit GoColumbia or call the City of Columbia Volunteer Programs at 874-7499.

For the I-Love-Mizzou Volunteer:  STRIPES
You have all heard of (and probably taken) STRIPES, or Supportive Tigers Riding In Pursuit of Ensuring Safety. It’s is a student-run, completely confidential, safe-ride program. STRIPES is led by more than 250 volunteers, who are chosen at the end of each term. During your time as a STRIPES member, you must serve at least five nights throughout the semester. The nights start at 9 p.m. and last until 3 a.m. or a little later. Don’t let the long nights intimidate you, though! They go by fast as you interact with a fellow volunteer in your car and the volunteers at the safe house – and let’s not forget to mention the stories from the riders. Picking somebody up from Harpo’s at 1 a.m. is guaranteed to give you something interesting to talk about the next day. Last but certainly not least, there is always free food. STRIPES runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. To become a volunteer, you must submit an application and undergo an interview process. The application for this semester is currently closed but visit their website http://stripes.missouri.edu/ and keep an eye out for the fall 2012 application.

Creativation Project
Cedar Creek Therapeutic Riding Center
Central Missouri Food Bank
Cleanup Columbia
Career Rocketeer