SAVI: Opportunity for student volunteer service

For McArthur students seeking volunteer work, Students Advocating Volunteer Involvement (SAVI) is the organization to contact. This Student Government agency works on volunteer projects within the county as well as on campus. Organizations operating with SAVI include the Children’s Home Society, the Palm Beach Library, the Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary and Hospital, the Norton Museum of Art, and the Jupiter Medical Center.

Echo Keif, director of SAVI, took the job in the Fall 2004 semester and has worked to enlarge the agency.

“SAVI has been a notoriously small organization, and this year my goal was to make it a real one, to make it one that people could come to,” said Keif. “It started with three hours a week and minimal funding, but with funding from the Senate it has gone up to 10 hours a week, not that I don’t work 20 hours a week,” she laughed. “I just wanted to get involved, and this was one of the ways I found I could make the most change.”

Besides providing volunteer service opportunities outside of MacArthur, SAVI has worked with on-campus clubs. They contributed to Residential Student Association’s work on Race for a Cure and will spend Earth Day with the Environmental Club in order to beautify the surrounding landscape of the dining hall by trimming bushes and setting up stepping-stones. The agency has worked on food drives for Haiti following the turbulent hurricane season and another one for Easter and Passover, as well as a cell phone drive to aid efforts to prevent the abuse of women.

SAVI also has established frequent children’s art workshops, which generally welcome the same young faces visiting from the Abacoa community. The workshops also allow Keif to express her artistic traits since she is also president of Different Strokes, MacArthur’s art club. She has planned for a future mural painting of the dining hall’s interior.

“It was a goal when I got hired that I wanted a mural on campus. I was very disappointed to come to this campus and see there was no mural.”

Keif welcomes any MacArthur student who is interested in joining Different Strokes on the night of April 8 to complete the mural.

“You don’t have to really be artistic. I’ll have the picture outlined so … it will be similar to a paint-by-numbers because I want everyone to do it and not be self-conscious, thinking ‘I don’t want to mess it up.'”

Another upcoming volunteer opportunity will be a veteran’s hospital visit in order to celebrate Patriot’s Day on April 18. “We’re going to bring cakes with the different branches of service on them, and we’re going to help with their choir. We want them to have a nice fun time, recounting their stories and accounts of their lives.”

Students interested in volunteering should look at the SAVI bulletin board outside the Student Government offices in the Burrow student union. “It’s really hard to know what’s going on via e-mail because people don’t check their e-mail, so I thought the Burrow would be a good place.

“I’m always trying to research constantly. I went through all the information and condensed it down to tiny paragraphs so that all [the students] have to do is look at the bulletin board.”

For more information on SAVI, contact Echo Keif at [email protected]