Love is cool or whatever, but helping people can make you feel warmer and fuzzier than any of your other half-assed Valentine’s Day plans! The story of Valentine’s Day is centered around love and service, so why not volunteer on the 14th?
Saint Valentine wasn’t your typical 2 a.m. booty-calling douchebag. He wrote his girl love poems from “ink” he squeezed from flower petals…in prison. That dude was real take-home-to-mom material.
On top of that, he gave his whole life to serve the Romans. There are tons of different stories about how, but they all center on Valentine being a real stand-up guy.
One account says that Valentine defied Emperor Claudius II by marrying couples when it was illegal. During the third century, the roman emperor outlawed marriage for young men because he thought wives and children made them worse as soldiers. Another story says that he helped Christians escape the mistreatment of Roman prisons.
This Valentine’s day we should keep Valentine’s spirit of service alive by spending a little time giving to those in need in our own community. Taking your S.O. to volunteer will give you some take-home-to-mom points, too.
How to spread the love
There are lots of ways to spread love and help others this February. Here a just a few volunteer options near Syracuse’s campus.
It’s almost tax season, and the people of Syracuse need help. If you’re a business student looking to up the ante on your resume, the Onondaga CA$H Coalition gathers volunteers to work for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. This helps low-income working residents in central New York receive tax returns without having to pay for tax preparers to help them. There are several positions available, and students are welcome.
Volunteers for Meals on Wheels can either prepare or deliver nutritious meals and nutrition education to people in the Syracuse community. Many recipients of these services are elderly people that could use a bit of that volunteer love this Valentine’s Day. These jobs require little to no training, but they help a ton of people.
Through this program, volunteers are matched up with an elderly companion to hang out with. Easy enough, right? Volunteers provide friendship, alerts to family and doctors of any potential problems they might notice, and support in everyday tasks such as running errands and making meals. A new friend in return for a little help here and there? Sounds like good deal to us.
Clear Path for Veterans trains and educates volunteers on military culture so they can give back to their communities and to the men and women that have served our country. The organization helps veterans heal and reintegrate back into civilian society in a sensitive and safe way.
RISE is an after-school program for middle-school aged refugees and immigrants that aims to help them maintain their cultural identity while becoming economically independent and productive members of the new communities they are living in. This is a great chance to experience and aid the thriving refugee population in Onondaga County.
These are only five of the hundred of ways to give back in the Syracuse community. This Valentine’s Day, rather than spending your time and money on unnecessary things, try giving back to the place you call home 9 months out of the year. Spreading the love through service is the perfect way to carry on the spirit of the holiday.