by Bob Keyes
PORTSMOUTH — Great Bay Community College is offering students more chances to volunteer in the community.
Student Life assistant Sara Poulin said the college used to offer just two volunteer opportunities a year, but students asked for more, so they started arranging monthly volunteer outings this summer. The program was successful, so the school continued the program through the fall and is planning opportunities for the spring semester.
The Student Life Department now maintains an ongoing list of places where Great Bay students have volunteered before and places that are looking for help, such as the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Newington, Operation Blessing in Portsmouth and Greenleaf Recreation Center in Portsmouth.
Student Katti Mowers, who is graduating this spring with an associate degree in hospitality management and a certificate in meeting and event coordinating, participated in the school’s hospitality club last year. Great Bay compensates the club for the volunteer work they do, so they have been involved in a number of volunteer projects.
Mowers said they helped the United Way with their “Purses for a Purpose” silent auction at the Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel, wrapped presents at a church in Portsmouth before Christmas, assisted children with games during “Ghost on the Bankes” at Strawbery Banke Museum in downtown Portsmouth and worked at Operation Blessing on Lafayette Road.
“We did whatever they needed us to do,” Mowers said of their time at Operation Blessing, which has served the needs of over 187,000 people in times of crisis. “We helped with cleaning out their winter clothes to help them prepare for their spring attire, cleaned windows, helped rummage through donation boxes and folded the clothes.”
Mowers said when they took a club trip to New Orleans, La., last year, they volunteered at a nonprofit restaurant called Café Reconcile.