UNR Students Give up Last Saturday to Give Back

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RENO, NV - Many University of Nevada, Reno students are taking advantage of their last weekend of summer vacation, but instead of heading to the lake or barbecuing with friends, one group of students spent Saturday giving back.

It's no shopping mall or music festival, but a homeless shelter. A group of UNR students is trading in the last Saturday of summer break 2015 to help the less fortunate. They're part of the lead initiative at UNR, a program to inspire students to become leaders. Each month, student volunteers get a new opportunity to serve their community.

"It's just raising awareness and letting them see first-hand that situations like this do occur in our community," said Stephanie Chen, lead coordinator for the Center of Student Engagement. "Sometimes you can read about it in your text book but it's one thing to read about it and another to witness."

Students not only get to witness, but participate. Saturday, they helped feed and clothe more than 200 homeless people, not realizing the impact their two hours of service can make.

"I lost everything I had. This is wonderful," said one woman hunting for bed sheets and clothes.

"I bagged a job so now I have something to read on my way to work," said a man who picked up a few magazines.

"My heart really went out to every one," said Andrea Watford, an incoming freshman. "I saw two kids in a stroller and to look at their life and the life i have, I am very fortunate. I learned not to take anything for granted."

The experience taught Watford a valuable lesson:

"They're the same as you. They may not have a lot but we're all equal."

Those students teamed up with Reno Initiative for Shelter and Equality, R.I.S.E, which is a KOLOCares Pillar Partner. The organization is always looking for volunteers. You can sign up and help feed the homeless every first, third and fourth Saturday of the month from 5-6 pm.

Click the link above right for more information.