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At State - the SDSU Student Newsletter

Phi Kap Teams with Boys & Girls Club: It’s a Win-Win

SDSU’s Greek organizations are involved in a wide variety of community service projects throughout the academic year.

Phi Theta Kappa (Phi Kap) has taken it one step further: they’ve partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of San Diego to provide consistent, planned, long-term help to the organization.

Photo: Boys & Girls Club

Boys & Girls & the "Big Kids"

Starting in spring semester, 2012, Phi Kap has been sending members out each week to help serve kids between the ages of 5 and 18 with academic success, character development, and healthy lifestyle programs.

Fraternity members perform specific duties such as academic tutoring, supervising activities, and playing games such as dodge ball with the kids of the Clairemont Branch of the Boys and Girls Club.

Branch supervisor Ruth Cassidy said Phi Kap’s volunteers make a big impact.  “The kids love it when the ‘big kids’ come to play with them or even help with homework.”

“Tutoring one-on-one with kids feels really nice, because I know I’m helping with their studies in the end,” said Phi Kap member Derek Feuerman.

Phi Kap members are finding it helpful to have scheduled, regular community service hours. And it's good for the Boys and Girls Club, too.

"It is always great to see a student organization making a long-term commitment to volunteer with a non-profit organization in the community," says Lauren Sparacino, an assistant student life advisor for Student Life & Leadership "It enables the students to cultivate a relationship with the people they are serving and helps them obtain a greater understanding of the challenges a certain population may face."

@State spoke with political science major Wiston Rodriguez, Phi Kap's Vice President of External Affairs, to find out more:

Photo: Wiston RidriguezQ: How has your fraternity’s partnership with the Boys and Girls Club been working out? 
Really well. You definitely work with a lot of people, not only the members of your house but the people who run the organization, too.  I’ve met a lot more people and made good connections. We’re all on the same page in what we strive for: just knowing you’re making a difference, especially when it involves kids. There’s guys in our house who have made really special connections with some of the kids. That’s why a lot of brothers like it.

Q: What is the regular work schedule?
We typically send groups of 10-15 guys once or twice a week. Our standard volunteer time is 3-6 in the afternoon, on weekdays. It’s a regular thing, but it stops over the summer, then starts up again in August when everyone’s back on campus.

Q: What has this experience meant for you personally?
When I ran for an executive position at Phi Kap, I wanted to see our house doing regular service.  Usually, if a house has something go wrong, then they do community service for a sanction.  But I wanted us to have consistent community service for positive reasons.

Q: How has this experience helped your fraternity?
Image: Phi Kappa Theta logoA: We require brothers in our house to get a minimum number of hours of community service to get certain benefits. So in order for brothers to go to a social event sponsored by our house, they have to earn points by doing community service. It gives our house a well-rounded atmosphere — we don’t want to be just socially driven. There’s more to it than just doing it when you’re being told to do it. We want to give back to the community. The Boys & Girls Club has been very flexible in working with us. I’d recommend that other houses to do regular community service like this. There’s a lot of other organizations out there that could use help.