3 Reasons to Give Back this Holiday Season

The holidays are upon us! Celebrations, spending time with family and friends, and closely followed traditions are faithfully upheld. It is a season of joy for many. For others, this time of year is a shrewd reminder of how thrashing life can be. Whatever the holiday season means to you, it is normally a period of heightened sentiments. Whether you are looking to share or receive the holiday spirit, volunteering is an excellent way to utilize these feelings and make a difference in the lives of others. Here are 3 reasons why you should give back this holiday season.

Reduce Stress. Besides the apparent assistance to others that accompanies volunteering, it can also help reduce stress. The holiday season can be one of the most stressful times of the year. With shopping to do, meals to cook, houses to decorate, and family to visit, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. But there is good news! A study conducted at Carnegie Mellon University has found that volunteering can help in reducing levels of stress and can improve your physical and mental health.

Live Happier. If you struggle to find meaning in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, volunteering can give you a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Those who volunteer regularly experience greater life satisfaction, as revealed in a report by the Corporation for National and Community Service. Additionally, research by the University of Exeter also shows that those who volunteer are better able to live longer, happier lives.

Enrich Your Community. The most important reason to give back this holiday season is the impact it has on those in your community. Non-profit organizations and other institutions that serve the community rely on volunteers to help shape the community into one that is vibrant, healthy, and safe. There’s nothing more rewarding than knowing you have made a positive difference in enriching your community through volunteering.

There are plentiful opportunities to volunteer during the holidays. Below are several organizations in the Kansas City metro where you can get involved and give back this holiday season.

Johnson County Christmas Bureau

A grassroots volunteer-driven charity hosts a Holiday Shop program to provide warmth and support to low-income neighbors during the holiday season. Visit their website for details on how to volunteer.

Shelter KC

Serve homeless individuals this holiday season by providing warm meals to those in need. For information on how to get involved click here.


Give food and hope for the holidays to those in need. Find out how you can help by visiting the Harvesters website.


KC Wildlands

The KC WildLands Cedar Tree Event is a wonderful opportunity for you to enjoy the outdoors and help in prairie restoration by selecting a native eastern red cedar to take home for your holiday joy! Volunteers are needed to help cut, carry and tie down trees on December 7th from 10am-3pm. Further details are found here.

Happy Volunteering!

Written by Ethan Bilyeu, Community-Based Learning student employee. 

Back to School Supply Drive

The first day of school is just around the corner and for many families that can be a stressful and financially burdensome time.

This year Fox4 Love Fund – a nonprofit started by Fox4 News that works to ensure children in the Greater Kansas City region have what they need to learn, live and grow – is partnering with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office to host a Back to School Supply Drive. The drive will run from July 1 – August 4 and supplies will be distributed August 10th during the Back to School Bash at Silverstein Eye Center Arena’s in Independence, MO.

Click here for more information and to find drop off locations near you. Or organize a drive of your own!  All you need is the the general information and school supply list to get started!

Happy back to school season!

Last day to register to vote in the primary in Kansas!

Are you registered to vote in Kansas? Today is the last day to register in order to vote in the primary on August 6th.

It should be noted that this year there are three JCCC Board of Trustees seats up for election. Greg Musil and Nancy Ingram are running for re-elction and David Lindstrom is not running again.  There are 11 candidates running for the three seats. On August 6, voters will determine which six candidates move on to the general election.

For more information on the candidates, check out this Shawnee Mission Post article.

If you’re not sure if you’re registered or not, KS Votes can determine that for you. Click here for more information on voting in Kansas or you can do Online Voter Registration here as well.

The polls will be open on August 6 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Many polling places have changed to be more efficient, so please check your polling place by calling the Johnson County Election Commissioner’s office at (913) 782-3441 or visiting the website. You can also view a sample ballot at that website.

Happy voting!

Pathways to Service

Good morning!

This past weekend I attended a Service Learning and Civic Engagement conference in Denver. While there, I attended a session on Pathways of Public Service and Community Engagement. The idea is that there are multiple ways to make a difference in the community through service, in fact, there are six ways:

1. Community Engaged Learning and Research: Connecting coursework and academic research to community-identified concerns to enrich knowledge and inform action on social issues.

2. Community Organizing and Activism: Involving, educating, and mobilizing individual or collective action to influence or persuade others.

3. Direct Service: Working to address the immediate needs of individuals or a community, often involving contact with the people or places being served.

4. Philanthropy: Donating or using private funds or charitable contributions from individuals or institutions to contribute to the public good.

5. Policy and Governance: Participating in political processes, policy making, and public governance.

6. Social Entrepreneurship and Corporate Social Responsibility: Using ethical business or private sector approaches to create or expand market-oriented responses to social or environmental problems.

If you’d like to find out which approach best fits you, you can take a brief survey. The purpose of this survey is to provide you with an opportunity to explore social issues that are important to you and different ways of addressing these issues.


Little Warrior Princesses

Little Warrior Princesses is a local organization the provides support for NICU families through gift cards for necessities like gas and food during their child’s extended stay at the hospital. When a child comes early, many unexpected charges can start to add up, Little Warrior Princesses eases this burden so families can focus on the children. If you’d like to help, here’s information about a fun event coming up:

Royal Ball Charity Fundraiser
Sunday April 15, 2018

Enjoy an afternoon with Disney Characters; Cinderella, Belle, the Beast, Ariel, Alice, Elsa, Anna, Tiana, Jasmine, Snow White, Pocahontas, Mulan, Rapunzel, Elana of Avalor, Moana, Maui and of course Prince Charming!

There will be food, a candy bar, music, dancing, face-painting and character pictures! This fun-filled event is for the entire family! You won’t want to miss their first Royal Ball to raise money to help support NICU families all around the Kansas City Metro region.

All proceeds from this event will go towards families by providing them gas and food gift cards to alleviate a little of the daily stress of having a baby in the NICU.

Sign up here!

Volunteer Fair at Union Station!

Still not sure where to volunteer? Want to meet and talk to non-profits in person? Mark your calendars! Over 40 nonprofits will be represented at the Serve KC Volunteer Fair, this Saturday April 7th from 10am-1pm at Union Station! Learn about so many ways you can make an impact in your community.

Participating Organizations: Union Station Kansas City, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Sherwood Center, Nourish KC, KC Pet Project, Literacy KC, United Way of Greater Kansas City, Newhouse, KCPT, After the Harvest, Spay & Neuter Kansas City, Safehome, Habitat for Humanity KC, Johnson County Christmas Bureau, The Children’s Place, Harvesters, Cultivate KC, My Father’s House, Community LINC, Morning Glory Ministries, Cornerstones of Care, Youth Volunteer Corps of Greater KC, Hope Faith Ministries, Community Blood Center of Kansas City, The Whole Person, Kansas City Hospice and Palliative Care, Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City, HopeBUILDERS, Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas, Powell Gardens, L3 | Love Literacy Life, Hillcrest Transitional Housing of MidAmerica, National WWI Museum and Memorial, Bridging the Gap, Starlight Theatre, Jackson County CASA, Cross-Lines Community Outreach, Boys Hope Girls Hope of Kansas City, Hope House, Paws 4 Autism, Kansas City Women in Tech, & KC for Refugees


Phi Theta Kappa SAFEHOME Fundraiser

I want to highlight the JCCC Phi Theta Kappa chapter today. They raised $65 and collected over 125 paper products and other toiletries for SAFEHOME, an agency that helps victims and survivors of domestic violence.

Good work PTK!

While doing this fundraiser, PTK also helped educate students about healthy and unhealthy relationships through surveys, tabling events, and an interactive video bingo game on campus.


JCCC Volunteer Fair

This Friday, February 2nd, the office of Community Based Learning is hosting a Volunteer Fair in the COM building from 9am-1pm. If you’ve been wanting to volunteer but have questions about what is expected of you, what scheduling looks like, or how rewarding it truly is, this is your chance to come talk to local nonprofits!

Here is a list of agencies that will be attending: SAFEHOME, Ronald Mcdonald House, Bridging the Gap, Goodwill, the CLEAR program, the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Lawrence Humane Society.


See you there!

Health Benefits of Volunteering

Volunteering is good for the world, that’s a given. It also makes you feel good about yourself, we all know that. Not to mention how it’s good for your resume, for networking, blah blah blah. But did you know that it can literally be good for you too? There are actually many proven health benefits to volunteering! Here’s just a few:

  1. People who volunteer live longer
  2. Volunteerism leads to an increased sense of purpose, positive social psychological factors like these have been proven to correlate with lower risks of poor physical health.
  3. People who volunteer have higher functional ability later in life
  4. Volunteers are less likely to suffer from depression
  5. People who suffer from chronic pain experience less pain when they begin to volunteer

Multiple studies have shown that helping others can also help you in terms of your mental and physical health. So get out there and start saving the world AND yourself!