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Sunday, September 24, 2023


UH volunteers give back

UH students are finding they can give a gift that goes beyond gift-wrapped packages while helping themselves gain real-world experience, explore career options and strengthen r’eacute;sum’eacute;s.

Cougars for Kids, a UH community service program, gives students a chance to volunteer in the community. The organization began in the fall and focuses on hospitalized children in the Texas Medical Center.

Texas Chilren’s Hospital volunteer Jerry Evans oversees the program and said in the last three months student participation has increased. Before the holidays, the group had about 30 members.

"The organization now has approximately 250 student volunteer applications," Evans said. "We just started promoting the program in January and it is interesting that most of these students have applied just in this semester."

A study released by the Corporation for National and Community Service shows volunteering among college students has risen sharply since the 9/11 attacks to 3.3 million in 2005 from 2.7 million in 2002, an increase of 600,000.

Providing service to the community is nothing new to kinesiology sophomore Violet Ehiem.

"What really interested me in this group is just volunteering. I have been volunteering ever since high school and it is something that I enjoy doing," Ehiem said. "I have been a participant in this group since the beginning of the spring 2008 semester."

Ehiem said volunteering in the community helps students in many ways.

"Some of the benefits for a volunteer would be getting more community service hours, being active in the community or just genuinely helping individuals who may need it," Eheim said.

The volunteers are not the only ones who benefit from the program.

"As far as the patients, I really believe that they benefit from it as well," Ehiem said. "Not all patients have guests on a daily basis come up and visit them. So when they can have company such as a volunteer, it helps them get their mind off of the reason why they may be in the hospital. They truly enjoy the company of the volunteers because some of them may not have family around the area. So just having someone to talk or listening to them besides the medical staff may brighten up their day."

Volunteer Amy Mayfield said she feels the same way.

"With Cougars for Kids everyone is happy," Mayfield said. "The kids love to see you and you love being there. There are endless amounts of benefits, but I think the greatest benefit is that there is so much love and happiness that is spread around. It is a wonderful program that Dr. Evans has established and I hope to see it grow and grow."

For more information, visit www.tech.uh.edu/CougarsForKids.

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