Around 63 million Americans are active volunteers in their community, according to data from a non-profit clearinghouse, and students at Florida A&M University are no strangers to volunteering.
FAMU boasts more than 300 registered student organizations and GroupMe chats dedicated to volunteer opportunities, and it is clear that FAMU students want to experience serving their community alongside their peers.
Students now have more opportunities to volunteer by joining the new community service organization, FAMU Active Volunteer Efforts (FAVES).
Percy H. Henry III, a FAMU student affairs coordinator and creator and adviser for FAVES, said students have recently shown more interest in volunteer opportunities.
“We didn’t have the amount of participation we have now when we started in late 2019, early 2020,” Henry said.
FAVES will give more students a chance to participate in community service events, as members will get access to events before the rest of the student body. Students will no longer have to fight to get a spot like they would with general volunteer opportunities.
“[During] anything big that happens at the university like Homecoming, graduation or Spring Preview, FAVES will be the official volunteers,” Henry said.
Although FAVES is presenting new volunteer opportunities to members, Henry said that general opportunities will still be available.
“What’s left over or what the FAVES could not do can get spread out to the general population,” he said.
As active members of FAVES, students will gain transferable skills they can take into the workplace through training in food handling, customer service and crowd control. Leadership experience will be given to members who receive a position on the student-run e-board.
Even though this is a new organization, FAVES is already making an effort to serve wherever possible.
“We adopted the Sherwood Park neighborhood,” Henry said. “The organization is going to take care of that neighborhood twice a month.”
Other plans for the organization include tutoring at a local church, partnering with Second Harvest of the Big Bend and working on an annual volunteer gala to honor volunteers for their time and dedication.
An interest meeting was held on January 17, but if students missed it they can join by filling out a membership application that can be found in the @famu.faves Instagram bio and pay the $25 membership fee that includes a polo and t-shirt and covers the expenses of event necessities.
Henry said he wants students to participate for reasons bigger than just receiving volunteer hours.
“I always tell the students when volunteering with me, it’s not about the hours; it’s about taking an experience away,” he said.
Students can stay up to date with FAVES by contacting Percy H. Henry III. by email at email@example.com and following the organization’s Instagram page, @famu.faves.