iHelp volunteers serve community

By Melissa Zieff

On Saturday, the Illinois Alumni Association’s Student Alumni Ambassadors sent more than 1,000 University students out to organizations within Champaign and Urbana through iHelp.

iHelp is the largest campus wide volunteer project and benefits over 30 sites throughout the area. Some of these include Crisis Nursery, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Books to Prisoners, Greater Community Aids Project and many more, according to the iHelp Web site.

Amy Levine, sophomore in LAS, said she did iHelp because she needed to have volunteer hours for her learning community class. Levine said she recommends iHelp to students who have similar class responsibilities because not only does the program fulfill a requirement, it is also a great way to help out the community.

“I only participated for the first time last year, but it was a lot of fun going to Urbana with a bunch of friends and doing something as simple as picking up trash.” said Sam Edidin, junior in LAS. “You don’t realize how much of a difference such a small act can really make.” Carlyna Carvalho, sophomore in Engineering, said she loved doing iHelp last year because she got to meet new people and finally got a glimpse of off-campus life.

“They sent me to put labels and metal on gutters telling people not to litter. I thought we would be picking up garbage but it was a really good experience,” Carvalho said. “I had wanted to volunteer since I came to campus, and I was in a couple clubs but it wasn’t enough so I signed up and had a lot of fun.”

Emily Miller, program coordinator of the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Champaign, said that she is very grateful for programs like iHelp. Miller added that through projects like iHelp, students learn how much effort goes into creating fund raisers.

“I think iHelp is a great program,” Miller said. “Programs like this show how great it is for young people to get involved at a young age in community support.”

Miller also said that when the students arrive at the association, they will be helping to get T-shirts ready for ‘stride and ride’, which is a walk for Muscular Dystrophy. They will also be creating information packets for ‘Hop-a-thon’, which is a disability awareness program for children.