National Volunteer Month: Students Who Are Leading the Way

In the United States, we celebrate National Volunteer Month throughout April to honor all the volunteers in our communities who have chosen to make a difference in the lives of others.

People volunteer for a variety of reasons and usually choose a cause that is meaningful to them. For some, volunteering allows them to give back to the community or make a difference to a certain group of people. For others it offers an opportunity to learn new skills or strengthen their existing knowledge or experience. We encourage you to choose a cause you believe in and to pay it forward!

This month, we would like to highlight some of our Lead Student Ambassadors who are paving the way and volunteering their time and talents to JBBBSLA. Lead Ambassadors are current college students and JBBBSLA scholarship recipients who take on leadership roles as part of our Student Ambassador Program. They help to facilitate Scholar Community Hangouts and events and serve as representatives for JBBBSLA. Read on to learn why they chose to volunteer as a Lead Student Ambassador.

Jonathan, Freshman at UC Davis

“Being a Lead Student Ambassador was a new experience for me. I got to connect and collaborate with some familiar faces and even made new friendships along the way. I believe that volunteering is important because everyone can benefit from some extra help. No matter where we are in our lives, we will eventually come to a point where we need help. It is important to me to give a helping hand back to those who have helped me.

JBBBSLA has helped me through my development as a young man and has created some of the best summer memories for me. By becoming a Lead Student Ambassador, I am giving back to JBBBSLA and my community of Scholars. This program gives students like me a chance to learn more about our Scholar Community as individuals and develop many professional skills. During this pandemic, it is more important than ever to connect with individuals and keep relationships, so that we know that we are all in this together. The takeaways from my experience as a Lead Ambassador were the ability to coordinate with different groups of people and to branch out of my comfort zone. This is the first time where I had to lead my own presentation about a professional topic and present it to people at the collegiate level. I am proud of all members of the Scholar Community who have participated this year!”

Yessenia, Freshman at Cal State Fullerton

“Volunteering is important to me because it’s a simple way that I can give back to my community that has helped me. JBBBSLA has provided so much support through high school and now college, so volunteering is so important to me. As a college student, having organizations like this motivates me to do better, it makes me want to keep my mind active. Because of the pandemic, it has been hard to find groups of people that are passionate about volunteering because, in regular organizations, it would always be, “I volunteer because it’s a requirement in my school.”

Being a Student Ambassador allowed me to meet people who go through the same things as I do, who understand me, and enjoy the tasks they are given. I learned that it’s important to communicate with other people because there are always people who will be there to support you. If a certain task is difficult, asking for help is always an option and there are many people who are more than happy to help.”

Danica, Junior at Cal State Fullerton

“Becoming a Lead Student Ambassador has made a tremendous impact on my college experience. Volunteering provides a great opportunity to give back to the community and replenish the virtuous aspects of humanity. Being able to contribute to building a reliable support system for other scholars is extremely motivating and serves as a constant reminder that I am not alone in my academic journey. I chose to become a Lead Student Ambassador because I have always held a deep appreciation for the JBBBSLA community. Taking part in JBBBSLA programs continues to provide amazing experiences and life lessons throughout the years for me and so many other people. Thus, I wanted to contribute in any way I can to provide amazing memories for someone else.

Under the current circumstances attributed to the pandemic, simple tasks and life itself has become much more difficult: life as a college student has never been so isolated. At a time when young adults are normally meeting many people and participating in social activities daily, we have been unable to participate. Thus, the Scholar Community has become much more influential in its impact on the lives of scholars.

One thing that I have taken away from my experience as a Lead Ambassador is the value and importance of different opinions and perspectives. Everyone has divergent experiences that hold priceless value and significance. Understanding situations and circumstances from someone else’s eyes is important for defining the person and traits you want to uphold. I have gained so much value from the discussions and hangouts with my fellow scholars and I hope to continue to learn from other scholars.”

Sophia, Sophomore at UC San Diego

“Since joining the Student Ambassador Program through JBBBSLA, I have found a whole new appreciation for volunteering. I have gained so much exposure to teamwork and groupthink aspects of volunteering, which I really didn’t have experience with before this program. I chose to become a Lead Ambassador because I have been given so many opportunities and resources through JBBBSLA and wanted to directly help the community that has supported me for years.

I believe that the time us students spend in college is the most important time in our lives. We learn so much about ourselves, what we value, and our interests. Working on projects for the Scholar Community has allowed me to support the people going through these same shared experiences, allowing us all to learn new things about ourselves every day.”

Matthew, Junior at Cal State Fullerton

“Volunteering is a way to help and show that you care about a cause. It is important to remember that doing good does not necessarily have to be for a reward but because you can help and care. My first two years in college were eventful, but the struggles of transitioning from being a dependent high school student to being an independent college student were still present. For that reason, I chose to give back to my community as a Lead Student Ambassador, sharing my experiences and helping where I can because I did not want anyone else to struggle the same way I did. It is crucial to have a strong support system, and that is exactly what this program provides, a safe space where students can learn from one another.

During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, many college students dropped from full-time to part-time, took a break, or dropped out for many reasons, but one of the biggest being because they did not feel supported. Although the program could have been paused, Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles doubled down and made sure we as students were supported. The staff and my fellow peers ensured that each of the students knew that they were not alone during these troubling times by providing resources, hosting events, and making ourselves accessible. Being a Lead Student Ambassador was a phenomenal experience. I loved connecting with students from other universities statewide and supporting one another through a difficult time in our college journeys. I am looking forward to seeing how much everyone grows over time and seeing how I can help along the way in this journey we call life.”

Peter, Third Year at Philadelphia College of Pharmacy

“Volunteering is important to me because it allows me to connect with my community and give back to the community. Throughout my life, so many people gave back to me and my family and I feel that it is my duty to do the same. It also gives me the opportunity to benefit from all that I do, and the different people I interact with allow my social skills to grow. In addition, serving as a Lead Student Ambassador improved my team building skills because we had to plan out the event that our group did. I chose to become a Lead Student Ambassador because it gave me a good chance to give back to the community and to show the scholars that we are all in the same boat. If someone were to reach out to other scholars, being a Lead Ambassador, we might be able to help if anyone faces any problems. They also have people to reach out to with any type of questions, and I personally feel that I was able to help with their questions.

This program offers many things, but it gives me the opportunity to give back to the community, and that is the best feeling and experience I can have. It also gives very good resources to scholars especially during this difficult time with COVID-19. One takeaway from my experience as a Lead Ambassador is spending time with scholars from different campus and hearing how they were doing. Although it is through Zoom because of the pandemic but even then, it feels great to connect with different types of people throughout different states.”

Lindsay, Sophomore at SDSU

“Since I was young, my mom instilled the value of giving back to others. She and my grandparents were involved in their communities. I have felt the joy of giving back and volunteering and how much it can impact people. When the opportunity of becoming a Lead Student Ambassador was presented to me, I could not say no. JBBBSLA helped me so much on my journey of college and life and having the opportunity to give back and help kids just like me felt right. I wanted to support people and help kids on their way to college or through it since it’s such a fearful time.

COVID-19 presented more stress on top of an already stressful time in our lives. We not only fear our futures but our health and the lives of those around us; it is draining and scary. A program like this provided a support system, something invaluable during a time like this. After being a mentor, my biggest takeaway is this, we all need support and sometimes the smallest actions make the biggest impacts.”

To learn more about ways you can get involved with JBBBSLA, visit our Volunteer opportunities page. We also encourage you to Make a Gift Today so we can continue to create impactful programs for students, like our Lead Student Ambassadors.

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