Madison House holds volunteer programs fair

More than 20 service programs, 175 community partner sites available for students

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Madison House held their Volunteer Programs Fair on the South Lawn. 

Juliette Christian | Cavalier Daily

Madison House held its annual Volunteer Programs Fair Monday to draw awareness to more than 20 service programs it helps facilitate within the greater Charlottesville community.

However, the number of volunteer opportunities extends far beyond the figure of 20 programs.

Each program has different program sites, such as Hoos Assisting with Life Obstacles, which sends volunteers to sites like a prison, a homeless shelter, a food bank and a GED center.

Madison House is one of the largest organizations on Grounds with approximately 3,100 University student volunteers. Volunteers work with roughly 175 community partner sites in the Charlottesville area.

Hoos Assisting with Life Obstacles, one of Madison House’s volunteer programs aimed at improving the lives of Charlottesville’s homeless residents, is an example of a Madison House program that has many different volunteer roles to fill.

“We have food pantries, tutoring with U.Va. employees, [visiting] jails, we have shelters, and legal aid and computer aid,” Sandy Hoang, fourth-year College student and program director of HALO, said. “So I think what’s most special [about HALO] is that we have all these different ways to volunteer. We have maybe a hundred volunteers of all years, different majors, not just undergraduates, but also graduate students.”

Volunteers from other programs such as Latino and Migrant Aid attended the volunteer fair, hoping to recruit more volunteers — especially upperclassmen — to grow the program, which helps native Spanish speakers perfect their English.

“We encourage fourth-years to apply,” third-year College student Katie Hill said. “We have this huge problem with fourth-year dropout where we don't have as many fourth-year volunteers, but we definitely want people to stay and retention is super important to us.”

For many, volunteering through Madison House is a rewarding experience.

Fourth-year College student Alex Morgan said her experience training new volunteers with Madison House’s 24/7 HELP Line has been the most rewarding.

The HELP Line is a student-run confidential service where volunteers listen to students who call in to discuss issues such as sexual assault or suicidal thoughts and refer callers to the appropriate resources.

“I really like training people because they could see the improvement in the people that I've trained from when they were practicing on the role play training calls, and a lot of the people skills increased immensely, and I'm just really happy to see their progress,” Morgan said.

Students can go to Madison House’s website to learn more about the various volunteer programs and how to get involved.

Correction: This article previously directly quoted a source who was not meant to be quoted.

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