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7 Ways you can give back in Dallas this holiday season

There is no better joy during the holiday season than giving back. The holidays are for spreading cheer and smiles all across our communities. Here are a few special volunteer opportunities students can participate in this season. 

Volunteer this season and every season at The River Legacy Living Science Center in Arlington, Texas. The mission of The River Legacy is to provide service for education, preservation and recreation. This includes weekly volunteer opportunities for animal care and front desk assistant tasks and volunteering for special events that are centered around education, fundraising and hands-on projects. Within these special events is the gift-wrap extravaganza this December. The River Legacy believe that volunteers are the most precious resource and they cherish everyone who lends a hand to this foundation. More info online.

On Sunday, Dec. 13 from 7-10 a.m. in Downtown Dallas, students can sign up to volunteer for Goodwill Industries of Dallas at the Dallas Marathon. Volunteers will help organize runners and collect the runners’ clothes once each flight begins the race. This holiday season also offers other opportunities: to host donation drives and serve in Goodwill stores that help create job opportunities for people with disabilities and other employment barriers. 

In Euless, Texas, students can explore the volunteer opportunities hosted by Volunteers of America-Texas, Resolana. Resolana provides gender-specific programming to female offenders from the inside of Dallas County Jail all the way to their community entrance. Volunteers can help these women and this program reach goals to change and increase community resources by assisting with classes held. More info about these classes can be found online as well as forms and participant requirements. For holiday, volunteers are needed to donate food to holiday meals and gifts for clients, help set up, clean up and serve, as well as to sing holiday carols and assist with gift-wrapping activities.

Coming up are volunteer opportunities for Voice of Hope Ministries in their annual Fall Festival, Thanksgiving Lunch and Christmas Adopt-A-Family Outreach. On Dec. 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., groups or individuals will be needed to assist with food boxes by distributing, sorting and delivering boxes. Volunteers can find more info about these events and how to register at their website.

Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support hosts a variety of holiday volunteer opportunities. Gather your family, friends, co-workers, church group or other group members by Dec. 4 to purchase wish list items for the adopt-a-family holiday event. You can also make year-end donations and buy 2015 holiday cards made by talented young children in the shelter (also by Dec. 4). Also, students can become an Outreach PAL where they can play with kids and participate in other activities while the kid’s mothers’ are in sessions. Outreach PALs are also responsible for cleaning up therapy rooms, answering phones and checking clients in.

Yet another opportunity to provide service to the Dallas area community with the Citizens Development Center (CDC). The CDC is a non-profit that helps adults with intellectual and mental/physical disabilities get work training and employment placement. This year, on Dec. 11 from 1-3 p.m., volunteers will help serve at the clients’ holiday party to in various activities like bingo games and art projects. Also year round activities like teacher, job interviewer, party host and hosting activities, art and crafts are available online.

Finally, students can volunteer at The Bridge, Dallas’ homeless assistance center that serves 1,000 to 2,000 meals per day, seven days a week. Volunteers will dish out food and pour beverages once guests are seated.  Food for The Bridge is provided by The Stewpot. The Stewpot is a safe haven for homeless and at-risk individuals of Dallas that provides resources for basic survival needs as well as opportunities to start a new life. What better way to kick-start the season of giving than giving back to the community at the Stewpot?

Feature and body images courtesy of Flickr

Hello everyone!I am a senior at Southern Methodist Univeristy, studying for majors Marketing and Fashion Media. I have written for Her Campus SMU since 2013. I really enjoy the people it has brought me to meet as well as the fun articles I get to write!! My main interests include travel, fly fishing, tennis, writing, reading, styling, shopping and hanging out with my family, friends and boyfriend. I'm looking forward to graduation and a career in the real world! :) 
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