UNO senior shares rewarding volunteer experiences completed through The Collaborative

Photo courtesy UNO Community Engagement Center
The Collaborative is a student-led group that organizes and coordinates volunteer opportunities within the community.

Mitchell Lienemann

University of Nebraska at Omaha senior Alejandra Gómez’s face lit up with a smile when she explained her most recent volunteer experience completed through The Student Services and Leadership Collaborative (The Collaborative).

“Today I had the pleasure of going to The Hope Center for kids, and we helped them paint the walls of their facility,” she said.

The Collaborative is a student-led program that was created to organize and coordinate community service and volunteer opportunities at UNO, according to UNO’s website. The program’s goal is to help students enact positive changes in the community and develop skills that will benefit them through the years.

Gómez, who is studying foreign language and literature and is pre-health, has been volunteering with The Collaborative for close to a year. She said the experience has been extremely rewarding.

Her most rewarding experience so far at The Collaborative has been volunteering during Martin Luther King Junior Day. Volunteers who participated in this service learning project were given the task of baking cookies, which were then distributed to hospital patients.

“I thought that was awesome,” Gómez said. “I felt really awesome about that; it was a great experience for me. I’ve had a lot of awesome experiences, but that one really stuck with me.”

Gómez said The Collaborative is actively looking for more volunteers to increase the organization’s impact within the community. One-hundred and four volunteers participated in the group’s last event.

“That was awesome that they came out to help the community in whichever ways they could,” she said.

So, what are the requirements for those who want to volunteer?

Gómez said volunteers complete five hours of office work and 10 hours of work through a nonprofit. The nonprofit that volunteers are partnered with depends on a variety of factors, including what type of volunteer work they’re looking to complete.

“I chose international service, economic sufficiency and health and wellness as my top three,” Gómez said.

Volunteers don’t have to be part of UNO to work with The Collaborative. Gómez said community members and high school students are welcome as well.

The Collaborative uses its social media page to recruit more volunteers, Gómez said. She recommends checking out the group’s Facebook page to see the different events and projects on which they are working.

Gómez said she plans to continue volunteering through The Collaborative until she graduates in the fall of 2018. She said she has met amazing people in the community by volunteering through The Collaborative. She challenges other UNO students and community members to give the organization a try.