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By Breeana Greenberg

Sophie Anderson, a Dana Hills High School junior and founder of “Engage,” organized a volunteer fair on Tuesday, November 9, to introduce high school students to a variety of volunteer organizations.

After many organizations were unable to take volunteers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the student-led group Engage hopes to connect students trying to find a way back into volunteering with organizations in need of volunteers.

Anderson also hopes to show her peers that volunteering can take a variety of forms.

The student-led group known as Engage held its first volunteer fair in hopes of connecting students with volunteer opportunities with local organizations. Photo: Lillian Boyd

“It can be great for not only fulfilling your community service hours but also developing skills,” Anderson said. “Like if you’re interested in animals, then go do something where you can get experience volunteering with animals or something in that realm, so you can develop those skills. And then if you want to write about that on your resume, or your college application, you can say, ‘Look, I was interested, and I did something, and I learned more about it.’ ”

Students interested in working with animals, for example, can volunteer at Goods and Goats, a goat yoga farm in San Juan Capistrano. Engage has also partnered with MATHmania Robotics, an organization that helps elementary school students learn robotics, and Laura’s House, a domestic violence shelter. Other partners include the American Red Cross, the Surfrider Foundation, Zero Trash Dana Point, Stand Up to Trash, and the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce.

“We’re really proud of the opportunity and initiative that Sophie took in just empowering the students with different opportunities to get these hours,” said Aakrsh Misra, a Dana Hills senior and president of the school’s National Honor Society. “These organizations are all great ways for students to get involved both in the community and school.”

On-campus honors organizations, including the California Scholarship Federation and the National Honor Society, require members to reach a minimum number of volunteer hours. The volunteer fair offers a variety of ways in which students can fulfill their volunteer requirement.

“I think that with the hundreds of members that we have in CSF, it just provides so many different opportunities for them,” said JT Williams, a Dana Hills senior and president of the California Scholarship Federation. “I have tons of students coming to me asking for different hour opportunities, and there’s only so many that we can provide within the school.”

Anderson hopes to establish Engage’s presence on campus this semester and hopes to hold another volunteer fair next semester.

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