Soul Food

Melody Lipford, Columnist •

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This semester I have continued service at Samaritan House Thrift Store. So far, I have enjoyed seeing the progress of the store evolve from set-up to opening its doors to customers. I have also enjoyed seeing the influx of people who come to visit the store and meeting volunteers of all ages during my service.

There are a plethora of reasons why volunteers come to serve at the store. Some do so due to free time, some are passionate about the specific cause the store serves, some for the experience, and some for meeting other people. Regardless of the reason, I believe all volunteers have
learned more about each other and better ways to serve the store as a whole. It has not always been crystal clear since the beginning, but I believe we have all developed more skills and strategies overtime to help organize the store more efficiently, price items, sort through donations, assist customers, and more.

Volunteering has allowed me to have many experiences with those of whom before I would have never met and has helped me to acquire professional skills I did not have before. For instance, time management, teamwork, organization, problem-solving skills, and creative-thinking. In addition, it has helped me to increase my networking skills with those in the community, in the state, nationally, and abroad.

In connection with college, volunteering has also helped me to figure out what I like and what I don’t. It has helped me job-shadow possible career choices and eliminate choices I don’t feel work best for me. Being able to have hands-on experience at potential career sites has been essential in directing me towards the right major and opportunities in college.

I’m beyond grateful that I’ve been able to implement my volunteering not just for scholarships or academically, but professionally as well. If it is possible, volunteer at potential career sites and see if they fi t for you. Going beyond the textbook can give you a clearer view of what a certain career may entail

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