Wednesday, July 21, 2010

23,000 divided by 100,000=4.34 hours of service per person

Had two stories in the D.U. today.

More than 23,000 BYU students have logged 100,000 hours of service this past year.

For the third year in a row, both the city of Provo and the state of Utah have been rated the No. 1 city and state in the U.S. for service and volunteerism.

Being nationally recognized is directly attributed to BYU’s involvement in service, said Bill Hulterstrom, CEO of Utah County United Way.

While attending the National Conference on Volunteerism and Service this past June in New York, Casey Peterson, director of the Center for Service and Learning, was approached by many organizations and colleges seeking strategies that will help them to be as successful.

“This is nothing about the organization,” Peterson said. “It is more about the students, using service to identify their reason why they are here.”

The Center for Service and Learning uses the community for its lab. Each year, the number of students continues to increase. Students are developing into world citizens, becoming aware of service opportunities and the issues that surround them.

One of the newest organizations BYU has partnered with is Utah Refugee Services, located in Salt Lake City.

Amy Wylie, volunteer coordinator of refugee services in Utah, also works with LDS Inner City Project and said the needs are great, with many opportunities to serve.

Because of time constraints and language experiences, BYU students have come to the Humanitarian Center and helped refugees with language training.

Statistics have proven that students who serve others, receive the most benefits Peterson said. They improve socially, spiritually and academically. Students also learn leadership skills as they take on mentoring roles while helping others develop necessary skills for life.

“In an incredible expression of gratefulness,” Wylie said, “a Burundian refugee asked me, ‘In my country, I would give them a cow. What could I do that will be equivalent?’ We can serve others right from our front door. From the comfort of our own home we can serve the world.”

When students apply for graduate schools or jobs, their service involvement stands out, Peterson said. Deans of other schools and employers recognize their unselfish act.

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