Each semester, SOAR365 serves as a partner site for VCU students enrolled in the Lifespan Developmental Psychology 304 service-learning class. Students in this class must complete 20 hours of service in addition to the course’s academic requirements. This semester, SOAR365 accepted a total of eight students, four of whom chose the Saunders Adult Day Services program, while the other four chose the Children/Youth Day Services at Saunders. Although most of them were somewhat nervous when they began, they have settled in, are learning a lot, and are all having great experiences! Let’s hear what they have to say:
“I’m from the Eastern Shore of Virginia. I am now a sophomore at VCU pursuing a double major in Political Science with a concentration in Civil Rights & Psychology. Eventually I’ll attend law school in hopes of becoming an Immigration Attorney. I love volunteering at SOAR365 and I love the bonds that I have made with the children. They are wonderful to be around and I enjoy sharing my Friday afternoons with them. The only ‘complaint’ that I have is that my time is coming to an end soon and I don’t want to stop volunteering. I am excited to continue being a part of the SOAR365 community as a volunteer every week once the semester is over and so thankful for this opportunity!”
“I moved here nine years ago from Tokyo Japan. I am a junior, majoring in exercise science, and ultimately I want to have my own practice as a physical therapist. My service at SOAR365 is going great and I am indeed enjoying the experience a lot. All the staff members are very friendly and so are the program participants. Every time I walk in on Friday during lunch I get lots of fist bumps and it makes my heart warm that they remember me and are opened up to me. I have learned many things at SOAR365, but most importantly treating everyone equally with respect.”
“I am from King George and came to Richmond in 2017 to attend VCU. I’ll be graduating this December with majors in criminal justice and psychology. I am still deciding on plans for after graduation, but I know I want to work in a field where I can give back to the community and help others while doing so. While volunteering here at SOAR365, I have learned that there is no such thing as a disability. There simply are unique individuals who have different challenges than others. We all face obstacles, but it is important to focus on the abilities you have and strengthening them – which is what I see happening here at SOAR365 each day I volunteer. Thank you so much for this opportunity!
“My major is Psychology and I am finishing up my senior year at VCU. I am originally from Atlanta, Georgia, but moved to Virginia in 2009 with my family when my dad got a promotion at work. After I receive my bachelors degree from VCU, I plan on going to nursing school through Bon Secours. I’m really enjoying myself and my experience. What I am learning at SOAR365 is just how unique and loving everyone that I have come into contact with is, and how it makes me happy to be volunteering with them all. I have had great conversations and it has been really nice to get to know everybody including the staff!”
“My family lives in Springfield VA. I wanted to attend VCU to expand my horizons and get out of my comfort zone. Now I’m in my third year, with a major in psychology and a minor in criminal justice. After graduation I want to become an Officer in the Navy and/or an Occupational Therapist for individuals with disabilities. What I enjoy most about my service at SOAR365 is having the opportunity to interact with the children and teenagers, and learning how each individual has a unique personality. It’s interesting to compare these experiences with the information that I am learning in class. Watching the supervisors and other staff encourage and teach important life skills will help the children and teenagers to become the best they can be. It’s been very meaningful to be a part of this organization.”
“I am a junior at VCU from Manassas Virginia, working on a degree in psychology. I’m still not sure what I’ll do after graduation but I know I want to help others in any way that I can. I am truly enjoying my service at SOAR365. I have been working with the adults as an art class assistant every Thursday and helping them create art is the highlight of my week each week! My service has taught me that we can all work together using our unique abilities and accomplish anything.”