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Global Citizens Give Back to Madrid Through Community Service

by Isaiah Voss


SLU-Madrid student volunteers, who come from nine countries, 20 U.S. states and the territory of Puerto Rico, serve the local community.

A group of seven students wearing aprons and hairnets pose in front of a large painting that reads La Familia De La Misionera De Caridad.

Students volunteering at a local soup kitchen. Submitted photo.

Over 40 Billikeños — whether temporary or permanent — help the greater Madrid community for credit and noncredit community service. Sharrad Belin of the Office of Student Life connects students with nearly 20 nonprofits and other organizations.

Belin believes students should dedicate their time to projects from which they will learn. He also encourages them to ask themselves: "How can I grow from this?"

"Volunteering provides us with an opportunity to look inwards and ask ourselves those questions," he said. "No matter how big or small, impact is impact. The type of impact you choose to make is entirely up to you."

The top groups among students are Community ESL (SLU-Madrid), CEIP Julián Marías (elementary school), Dragones Lavapiés (soccer club) and Fundación Amigos de los Mayores (companionship for older people). 

Both permanent and visiting American volunteers are from Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington. Two U.S. citizens call Puerto Rico home.

Students also represent countries including El Salvador, Italy, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and Syria.

Over 90% of students surveyed by Student Life say that volunteering was a personal choice and not a requirement for credit.

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