By Kenney Kost/editor-in-chief

With spring break fast approaching, it’s easy and understandable for students to want some personal, worry-free party time. Another option that may be more rewarding and gives back to the community is volunteering.

TCC is aligned with several agencies that offer varying services around the community. For many people these organizations help, spring break is a non-existent concept. Life continues to be a struggle for them no matter what time of year.

The North Texas Food Bank and the Tarrant Area Food Bank always have volunteering opportunities available along with the many homeless shelters in Tarrant County. Whether sorting food, helping in a kitchen or serving food, seeing a hungry child smile after receiving a meal is rewarding.

Organizations like Cook Children’s Hospital need volunteers to help with things such as directing visitors, reading books, playing in playrooms and comforting children. Some of these children are terminally ill and have been or will be in the hospital for weeks or months and showing them that other people care about their lives can go a long way in their recovery. And all it takes is getting off the couch and going.

Volunteering can also offer great opportunities to be in and give back to nature. Tarrant County is filled with community gardens and research-based botanical gardens that need help. And, at the Arlington Archosaur Site, one can search for dinosaur bones at a real archaeological dig site. Any of these options are good ways to get outside while giving back over spring break.

It’s not a good idea to write “partied in South Padre” on a resume. A solid list of volunteering hours, on the other hand, looks great on a resume and university and scholarship applications. Volunteering hours could potentially be the difference in a selection committee’s or a prospective employer’s decision.

Some of these places require background checks and calling in advance to find out about any registration or other requirements is a good idea. Each campus’ student activities or service learning coordinator can help students who may be interested but don’t know where to start.

South Padre Island is a great place to get some sun and kill a week free from the stress of notebooks and professors, but getting out in the community and helping your neighbor is much more satisfying and beneficial to everyone involved.