BYU’s Center for Service and Learning Y-Serve program offers students a variety of service opportunities through over 70 community service programs.
Kevin Ung, a service counselor for Y-Serve, said the different programs offered can appeal to a variety of student interests and passions.
“Students can find service opportunities that fit them,” Ung said. “There’s mentoring and tutoring programs. There’s service programs for sports, healthcare, you can work with senior citizens and those with special needs. Whatever passion students have, there’s a service opportunity for them.”
Some of the programs are originated through Y-Serve, but Ung said many of them collaborate with existing non-profit organizations. Y-Serve works closely with non-profits such as Habitat for Humanity, Community Action, Circle K International and RAH.
BYU’s chapter of RAH, or Recreation and Habilitation, in particular offers fun service activities that help disabled adults become fully participating members of the community.
Cameron Nelson, program director for BYU’s chapter of RAH, said one of the main activities BYU RAH focuses on is it’s weekly bowling trips, where RAH volunteers help adults with physical and mental disabilities bowl and have fun.
“We spend the hour and a half hanging out at the bowling alley, talking to them, learning about them and cheering them on,” Nelson said.
The weekly bowling trips take place every Tuesday from 3-4:30pm at Miracle Bowl in Orem, Utah. Nelson said RAH service activities are rewarding to all that participate regardless if its only a few times a semester.
“Some students initially say they can only participate once or twice a semester but then they go and realize that it is the highlight of their week and they keep returning and making time for it.”
Josalin Dunn, a RAH volunteer, said that the she hasn’t missed the weekly bowling trips since joining the RAH program seven weeks ago.
“I love it, its the greatest part of my week,” Dunn said. “This service does not feel like a chore, its such a positive experience, it makes your life problems feel like nothing.”
Nelson said service is also a great way to take a break from a busy school and work schedule.
“Y-Serve and RAH was the productive break I was looking for,”Nelson said. “Yeah, I could spend an extra hour sleeping or playing a game on my phone, but the kind of break I was looking for was the kind that I could help someone else.”
Nelson said that if there was one thing students should know about Y-Serve or RAH it is that service opportunities are widely available and can fit anyone’s schedule.
“Whether it’s RAH or another program, Y-Serve has service opportunities and programs for any schedule,” Nelson said.
Programs like Circle K and Stop and Serve offer other flexible service options if students can’t find time for RAH’s weekly bowling trips.
Gretchen Brock, Vice President of BYU’s chapter of the Circle K program, explained some of the the projects and activities the program is involved in. Circle K International is the largest collegiate community service organization in the world.
“We visit Utah State Hospital twice a month and participate in different activities for the children and patients there,” Brock said. “There’s Project Uplift, where we make packages and letters for our troops. These are just a few of the service opportunities we are involved in.”
Ung said many of the programs offered are meant to be easily accessible and convenient for students to participate. One of these programs is called Stop and Serve. Volunteers can stop by room 2330 in the Wilkinson Student Center anytime 8 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and work on small service projects that serve local non-profit and overseas agencies.
Ung said all students are invited to stop by the Y-Serve offices in rooms 2010 or 2330 in the WSC to learn about the service opportunities that fit their interests and schedule.
“Through service, we are able to find that meaning in our lives by focusing on others,” Ung said. “It’s a great opportunity to become more like the Savior.”