The Volunteer Resource Program (VRP) at The University of Texas-Pan American recently hosted !Volunteer Celebration 2006! to spotlight the outstanding community service of student volunteers and to also recognize the contributions of faculty who incorporate service learning concepts into their coursework during the 2005-2006 school year.
Students recognized for their volunteerism were Adina Zamora of Edinburg, who was named the Outstanding Volunteer for the Spring Semester 2006 and Eduardo Carrillo of Pharr, who received the award for Volunteer of the Year. Zamora was honored for accumulating the most volunteer hours and for the diversity of her volunteer work in the graphic design field. Carrillo was honored for his work with the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program. As president of the UTPA Accounting Society, he was in charge of the VITA Center on UTPA's main campus, which assisted many low-income individuals in preparing their income tax returns free of charge.
The program was created as a resource for involving UTPA students in community service activities in the Rio Grande Valley. VRP has engaged more than 300 students, both high school and college, into volunteer positions with local nonprofit organizations. Some placements require semester-long commitments while others represent participation in one-day events such as AVANCE's Youth Leadership Conference and the Alton Back to School Fair.
Local organizations who have collaborated with the VRP are AVANCE and the Coalition for Valley Families; Rio Grande Valley Food Bank; the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans; PSJA HOST Program; Mujeres Unidas (Women Together); and the South Texas Health System.
For more information on VRP, call 956/292-7566 or log on to www.coserve.org/vrp.