The Metropolitan Volunteer Program is having a week filled with service to commemorate its 25th year of encouraging UH students to reach out to the local community.
The organization provides weekly opportunities for students to assist those in need by volunteering their time at local food banks, shelters or a community garden located at UH.
“Students learn the spirit of giving by participating in service and have the opportunity to meet other students and community leaders in a group environment,” said Stephanie Schmidt, associate director of Leadership and Civic Engagement at the Center for Student Involvement.
MVP also works with Agape Community Ministries to organize an annual “Rock the Block” spring event held in the Third Ward. Members interact with residents by hosting a barbeque and cleaning up litter.
The organization has switched locations several times throughout the years and has lost much of the history of its founding, but MVP assistant director Sara Lalani said it has never lost the drive to serve the public.
“We have an exciting future,” she said. “We are pushing social media through Facebook and Twitter to help grow our member base and are building new relationships with nonprofits. It’s great to see students go out in a group with us and then later volunteer on their own.”
MVP is also trying to coordinate efforts on campus, so students who are pressed for time can still have the opportunity to make a difference.
“We are making progress this year trying to get other student organizations involved,” said MVP director Kiah Prevo.
To celebrate 25 years of student volunteering, MVP is hosting different service events all week, concluding with a birthday party. The week’s events included working in the community garden Monday, making cards and sandwiches for the Star of Hope on Tuesday and volunteering at the Houston Food Bank on Wednesday.
On Thursday, MVP will volunteer at The Beacon, which is a center for the homeless that provides meals, treatments, laundry and shower services and case management. Friday, the organization will help Casa de Esperanza, which provides a safe haven for children in crisis.
For more information on events or volunteer opportunities, visit uh.edu/mvp.