University of Texas at AustinDivision of Diversity and Community Engagement

Outstanding Student Volunteers Recognized

November 12, 2012

The Volunteer and Service Learning Center recently selected the October 2012 outstanding student volunteer and outstanding student organization for their commitment to helping two nonprofits achieve their mission.

Iris Blackburn, radio-television-film senior, is the outstanding student volunteer for the Austin Humane Society (AHS). She sought out the opportunity because of her love of animals, and while growing up in Utah she had several pets. Since September 2011, she volunteers between seven and 12 hours a week cleaning kennels, walking and training dogs, helping orientate new volunteers and assisting at off-site adoption events.

Iris Blackburn

Recently, Iris’ supervisor agreed to let her foster, or care for at home, a newly admitted dog suffering from depression. After a few weeks the dog now appears to be doing better.

“I’ve learned a lot about working with dogs, and it makes me feel good,” Iris said. “When I’m stressed out it’s nice to sit with a dog.”

The outstanding student organization recognized is the Asian Health Professions Organization (AHPO) for their assistance to the Capital Area Parkinson’s Society (CAPS).

This is the third year that AHPO has worked with CAPS, an agency that serves people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and their loved-ones by providing support groups, workshops and resources about the disease.

Rikki Foster, human biology, UTEACH and business foundations senior, is the group’s volunteer and service officer. He says AHPO members assist the nonprofit by attending its monthly meeting to help with set-up, and to socialize with attendees.

Asian Health Professions Organization at their 5th General Meeting.

“Young people aren’t usually helping out with older people and they like company,” said Rikki. “Whenever we come back from summer breaks they’re always glad when we return.”

VSLC encourages anyone who knows of a current student or student organization demonstrating exceptional service to a local agency to submit their nomination for consideration by November 30 at 5 p.m.

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