By Sydney Matthews | Staff Writer
Following the New Year, the student-led non-profit Helping Hands will be undergoing through changes during the semester as they prepare new opportunities for students.
Helping Hands’ mission is to support the disabled community in Waco and surrounding communities.
“Our organization is a service organization that fundraises money for assistive devices for kids who are in need, and volunteers with local organizations such as No Limitations,” Victoria junior and President of Helping Hands Gabby Garza said.
For the organization, the New Year is a time of transition as they emerge from the COVID-19 restrictions of the last few years.
“During COVID-19, we were not able to volunteer as much and put a pause on fundraising,” Garza said. “So, this year we are getting established again by fundraising and reaching back out to the schools and the Waco community.”
Garza also said Helping Hands is excited to announce its new project for 2023 and will be fundraising in a different and new way.
Currently, Garza said their new project is working on a fundraiser for CT — a man on the autism spectrum who needs a service dog. She said this man was diagnosed at two-and-a-half years-old as autistic and nonverbal.
“He needs constant supervision and care,” Garza said. “A service dog would support him and the family by giving them an extra caretaker for CT. The service dog would also serve as a companion for CT which can improve social skills and relationships.”
Baylor students can get involved this spring semester by participating with Helping Hand’s fundraising efforts for their new project.
“The best way to get involved is sharing our social media,” Garza said. “The more people that see our posts and share it allows us to reach more people that can donate. Another way to get involved is by supporting our fundraising events. We are hoping to be hosting a candy gram fundraiser in February and then hosting a volleyball tournament in March.”
Helping Hands will also be looking to fill leadership positions for the fall semester and encourage students that share the same passions to reach out.
The Baylor’s Connect website includes over 350 organizations to choose from ranging from leadership opportunities to spiritual growth. The groups mentioned on the website help to run more than 10,000 events per year.
“When students start getting involved in a student organization, we see that they find a community of friends and peers of likeminded interests,” Craig Willie, associate director of Student Activities, said. “That creates a connection to the university.”
Willie also said Student Activities is always opened to help students get involved on campus throughout each semester.
“We really try to educate our staff on not only the student organization community, but also the overall student involvement in the community of Baylor,” Willie said. “We want to have students aware of all of the opportunities that are out there.”
According to Willie, there are multiple ways students can see what opportunities there are on Baylor’s campus.
“We always encourage students to go on Baylor Connect which shows all of our organizations and events. Also, to check out the What’s New BU email every Monday to see new opportunities,” Willie said.
The Department of Student Activities will be hosting an organization fair during Dr. Pepper Hour on Feb. 7 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
“There will be over 50 student organizations in attendance,” Willie said, “it is a fun place to go and be connected, as well as see what the student organizations have to offer this spring.”