Sonoma Serves returns to aid community

Sonoma Serves is Join Us Making Progress’ annual one-day, large-scale service project where they send teams of students to several non-profit sites in Sonoma County to volunteer for the day. 

 Sonoma Serves was originally scheduled for the weekend of Oct. 14, but campus had closed and evacuated by that point. The event was rescheduled to take place on March 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This will be the second year that Angelena Perez, associate students director of days of service, participates in the service event, previously holding a coordinator position for JUMP.

 According to Perez, at a time of need like the recent fires, their first instinct was to help wherever they could, as community partners assessed the damage. 

“Their needs are, and were, overwhelmed with people wanting to help,” Perez said. “Also not knowing if our community partners were okay or if the vulnerable populations we work with were okay was very heartbreaking.” 

According to Perez, the goal of Sonoma Serves is to get students involved in the community and volunteer for the day to hopefully make a positive impact. With more than 200 student volunteers, she said it does so much work and the experience is one for the books.  

“You have incredibly grateful community partners and people whose lives just got a little better and students that walk away with life-changing experiences,” Perez said. “It’s so important for SSU students to know that there are these amazing non-profits in the area that work every day to help those in need and various opportunities to help them by volunteering with us.” 

According to Perez, JUMP hopes everyone has a positive experience and becomes aware of the issues that surround Sonoma County. 

“The best part of Sonoma Serves is when some of the students who volunteered for the event, begin volunteering more often within JUMP,” Perez said. “It only takes a few hours out of a Saturday and so much gets done.”

Associated Students Youth Programs Director Giovanna Castellanos, a junior English and women gender studies major, said Sonoma Serves is open to any SSU student or group and usually gets teams, clubs, Greek life, classes and a variety of Seawolves signing up as individuals. 

According to Castellanos, its goal is to make sure everyone who signed up last semester or has an interest now has a chance to participate in Sonoma Serves this spring, and to get as many people as possible out in the community. 

Castellanos said, “Our goal is to make sure everyone who signed up last semester or is interested now a chance to participate in Sonoma Serves this spring, and to get as many people as possible out in our community. The community need is greater than ever and we are looking forward to making a positive impact in our community and get Seawolves involved.

“If a group, sorority, fraternity, club, or class is interested in signing up as a team, they need one person to register as a team captain, and then everyone else in their team can register as an individual and select which team they want to be a part of,” Castellanos said. “If an individual wants to sign up, they can sign up as well and we will make sure everyone ends up at a site.”