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Tuesday, June 11, 2024

“Davis Volunteer Network” strives to make a difference

With Fall quarter fast approaching, students may become caught up in the back-to-school bustle and find themselves with a desire to give back to the community but not a lot of time to do it. The Davis Volunteer Network, a website that connects volunteers with pre-existing non-profits and organizations, was created as an easy way for people to remain informed about the volunteering opportunities around them.

Website founder Daniel Donnelly, who recently graduated with a degree in international relations, had the idea of creating a website that focused on gathering support for charity organizations months before deciding to act.

“One day I told myself that I had to give the idea for the website a shot,” said Donnelly in an e-mail interview. “There are already many people doing great things in the community that unfortunately don’t get recognized. My hope is that they get all the support they need from those willing to help.”

Since its conception in early July, the website has already garnered support from organizations including Campus Rotaract, Pink Alive, Davis Help and Education Leading to Prevention, Putah Creek Council, Citizens Who Care, the UC Davis Prytanean Women’s Honor Society and the Community Alliance with Family Farmers.

The site has also gained support from students such as senior political science major Alexander Rossbach.

“Any site that helps streamline volunteering opportunities is a great thing,” said Rossbach in an e-mail interview. “We definitely need more people to get out there and help our community. I’m positive that the site will keep getting better with time.”

Visitors of the Davis Volunteer Network website can use its resources to donate their services, promote their organization, or even to fulfill a class requirement.

Timothy Huynh, junior sociology-organizational studies and communication double major, used the site for a class project.

“In this case, my desire to volunteer was based on a requirement for an assignment in one of my classes, and the site was able to inform me of more potential local volunteer opportunities,” Huynh said in an e-mail interview.

The website includes information on UC Davis volunteer organizations, as well as charity and fundraising events around Davis itself, giving potential volunteers an easy way to stay informed about what they can do to help others both on and off campus.

Donnelly himself volunteers mostly with campus groups such as the 1000 Wells Project, of which he was the head coordinator during his senior year, and has participated in fundraisers to support both the relief efforts in Haiti and the creation of water wells in Africa.

For Donnelly, the best way to encourage widespread action is to spread the word of volunteering opportunities.

“The best way to keep this website going is through word of mouth and by spreading awareness of its existence. [Through this], people can remain updated regarding events which they can volunteer for,” Donnelly said.

Charity organizations and volunteers alike hope that the Davis Volunteer Network can help inform community members about opportunities to make a difference in Davis.

“Danny Donnelly is a really awesome guy and has big plans for the future of the site,” Rossbach said. “I believe that people will really benefit by finding organizations that really speak to them. I hope that the site keeps growing and that it brings more attention to non-profits in Davis.”

As for Donnelly, he plans to expand his website to include opportunities for people outside of the Davis area.

“My hope is that I can begin to expand into other communities and further develop the site into the most effective way to connect volunteers and volunteer-based organizations,” Donnelly said.

Visit the Davis Volunteer Network at www.davisvolunteernetwork.org. To post a volunteer opportunity, email Donnelly at daniel@davisvolunteernetwork.org.

RACHEL RILEY can be reached at features@theaggie.org.

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