Service sector

Fresno State tops 1 million service hours for 13th straight year

For fourth-year Fresno State kinesiology major Albert Mendez II, volunteering has been a game-changer in his college experience.

Albert Mendez II

“I did not do much [volunteering] in high school,” he said. “I was too focused on my GPA and making sure I got into college.”

Now that Mendez, 21, is at Fresno State, he’s used his volunteer experiences to help shape his educational and career goals. When he arrived in first grade, he wanted to be a chemist, but “something was wrong,” he said. Today, Mendez aims to become an early elementary school teacher.

He came to this realization after joining the Jump Start program in the fall of 2020. Despite the virtual nature of the work imposed by the pandemic, he immediately felt connected to a community.

“Even though I was working from home, we [the team members] were making silly videos for kids about reading, writing and dramatic play,” he said. “It was fun! It helped me feel really engaged.

Jump Start’s mission, Mendez said, is to teach social-emotional skills to preschoolers and help them prepare for kindergarten.

“Jump Start is a ‘jump start’ to their success,” he said.

Mendez became a team leader during his second year with Jump Start so he could learn how to manage a classroom and explore other volunteer experiences. Via Fresno State Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, he participated in the Alternative Spring Break program at Stone Soup, which gave him hands-on experiences in teaching and engaging elementary students. He also volunteered at Fresno City College’s AsianFest and Fresno State’s Vintage Days, where he oversaw Kids’ Zone activities.

With his volunteer spirit over the past few years, Mendez has contributed to Fresno State’s longstanding culture of community service. During the 2021-22 academic year, 12,712 Fresno State students, faculty, and staff provided more than one million hours of community service. This marks the 13th consecutive year that Fresno State has surpassed 1 million hours.

“With 13 years of more than one million volunteer and service-learning hours per year, Fresno State is once again proving that it is a community-invested university that permeates every facet of life in the valley of excellence and hope,” said university president Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval. . “The Richter Center continues to be a national leader in supporting real-world experiences that both promote academic excellence and have a profound impact on our communities through the vitality and creativity of our students. .

Data collected for the Richter Center’s annual Community Service Impact Report documents a total of 1.34 million hours of service. The total economic impact of this service is estimated at $48.3 million, based on calculations by the Independent Sector, a national, nonpartisan network of nonprofit and philanthropic organizations and professionals.

Services provided range from short-term activities such as blood drives with the Central California Blood Center and environmental restoration projects along the San Joaquin River to 167 service-learning courses and numerous fee-based service programs that meet the educational enrichment needs of children in local school districts.

Mendez, a native of Selma, knows that getting involved on campus and in the community can be a challenge for many students like him who come to campus. “It can be difficult to find a community,” he said. He joined the Fresno State bowling team as a rookie, and while it was a great experience, he has since found his true calling in volunteering. He encourages other students to do the same.

“Once you step into the world of volunteering, you’ll see how exciting and fun it can be. You meet so many people and it can really impact how you do your college education.