Holidays Bring Helping Hands

Junior+and+Key+Club+President+Rhea+Maniar+helps+to+create+dog+toys+from+old+washrags+and+t-shirts.+One+of+many+community+service+projects+she+does+throughout+the+year.+

Olivia Prince

Junior and Key Club President Rhea Maniar helps to create dog toys from old washrags and t-shirts. One of many community service projects she does throughout the year.

Allison Williams, Intro Writer

   A young child at Give Kids the World Village ran out of her wheelchair and started dancing when she saw the six-foot-tall rabbit Mayor Clayton. Inside the costume was Interim Chaplain Russell Wohlever, who remembered that moment as one of his most rewarding experiences while volunteering.  

   “I just remember her mom was there with the camera, taking pictures and was bawling,” Wohlever said. “It was really cool. I was probably crying underneath the costume myself… I loved being Mayor Clayton.” 

   Give Kids the World is a nonprofit resort that provides critically ill children and their families with week-long wish vacations at no cost. Wohlever said that he can’t think of a time when he did not look forward to or enjoy volunteering. 

   “Every time I’ve done something it’s eye-opening,” Wohlever said. “ It’s also been a wonderful way to connect to people, people who I never would have known or met. And for the most part, meet some really amazing people here with amazing stories.” 

   Like Wohlever, Junior and Key Club President Rhea Maniar also enjoys volunteering. She has been volunteering since she was in elementary school and is happy to share her knowledge about community service with the Trinity students. However, when the wintertime comes around, new challenges start to appear. 

   Maniar said that most of the events that Key Club does on campus are open to the entirety of the student body. Key Club hosted a Hurricane Ian relief drive open to the school and voter registration open to those who were eligible. 

   Maniar said that she would like to go and help organizations outside of the school, but it is hard when she is unsure of how many volunteers will attend. 

   “I cannot tell them [the organizations] a specific number of kids that will be coming because out of 160 people I don’t know who’s actually going to show up,” Maniar said. “So it does make our job a little harder in the wintertime but it does happen every year.” 

   Save a Life Pet Rescue is one of many organizations that relies on volunteers. Vice President of Save a Life Grace Dearden said that towards the end of the year the rescue does well because people are adopting more pets for the holidays, however during the summertime the rescue faces challenges. 

   “During the summer when people are vacationing, we do struggle with not having enough adopters and volunteers,” Dearden said. “Most of our volunteers are high schoolers that are looking for Bright Futures hours, and usually when they’re on vacation with their parents and are not here, we struggle a little bit.” 

   For students looking to participate in more community service and volunteer work, many organizations are looking for help. 

   “A lot of organizations don’t explicitly ask for volunteers,” Maniar said. “But if you take the initiative of giving them a call or sending them an email, there’s always something that can help.”

   Dearden said that they take volunteers at Save a Life Pet Rescue as young as 14 years old with experience, and 16 years old without. 

   Dearden said that it can be hard to find the time to volunteer with a busy schedule but she loves to help others and she loves the feeling of knowing that she has made a difference. 

   “I’ve always been interested in helping others. I’ve always been really passionate about animals. So when I do have time outside of work, I do try to volunteer.”

   Wohlever said that he does not want his students to volunteer just for the hours. He said that it is important for students to see what other people are experiencing that may not be an obstacle in their life.

   “I find that we do have very kind students here. And I think it’s their hearts and I think it’s good for them,” Wohlever said. “We’ve got so many kids who have great skills here, who have so much to offer to the community.”