Helping the community without straying far from UA campus

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Ana Beltran | The Daily Wildcat

The mission of Ben's Bells is to teach individuals and communities about the positive impacts of intentional kindness and to inspire people to practice kindness as a way of life. The studio located on Main Gate at University Blvd is opened Tuesdays - Saturdays and open to all.

Volunteering is a great way for students to stay engaged in the Tucson and the University of Arizona communities over the summer. Knowing places on and near campus can help keep the spirit of Tucson alive in you and the area.

Banner Hospital

Banner — Health University Medical Center offers a variety of volunteer opportunities at all of their locations. From main campus to south campus, there is an opportunity for everyone. Cassandra Peel, senior manager of volunteer resources, guest services, retail operations and spiritual care, has overseen the volunteer program at the center for two years and ensures that there is a fit for everyone.

“We have a pet therapy program, we have a [Newborn Intensive Care Unit] cuddling program, guest services," Peel said. "If someone has experience with oncology we have a cancer center where we love to have people who have experience be a part of. [South campus] is our behavioral health center, so we have opportunities for behavioral health, public health education, diabetes education.”  

From helping patients navigate the hospital and learning people skills to helping run the gift shop and attaining retail knowledge, Banner offers volunteer opportunities for everyone, not just prospective med students. According to Peel, the current volunteer body spans five generations, allowing for people to interact with others outside of their usual demographic. 

Banner offers a wide range of volunteer opportunities for all interests, spanning across their many locations in Tucson. To get involved with volunteering at the center, email bmucvolunteer@bannerhealth.com

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Ben’s Bells Project

Be Kind.

Spending a day in Tucson without seeing these words or the token green flower that usually accompanies them can be difficult, showing how integrated Ben’s Bells is in Tucson’s community. 

According to the Ben’s Bells website, the organization focuses on educating the public about the effects that kindness can have and encouraging people to be kind to everyone. Volunteers can help educate and encourage others through one of two options. 

Firstly, volunteers can shape and paint clay Kindness Coins, or tokens that represent kindness, at their Main Gate studio without a reservation. Another option is to help out at the Downtown studio on Tuesday and Thursday from 3 to 5 p.m. and help out with cleaning and maintaining the building and assembling and painting ceramic items. 

William Felix, resident assistant student coordinator and chair of the Community Action Through Service committee for New Start, enjoys coordinating events for New Start through Ben’s Bells because of the positive message and environment that Ben’s Bells creates for the Tucson community and for the students who participate in New Start. 

“Little acts of kindness can be what helps someone get through the day,” Felix said. “The message of ‘Be Kind’ is just really meaningful and really powerful and fun for everyone.”

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Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity Tucson strives to build housing and a welcoming atmosphere for the Tucson community. According to the Habitat for Humanity Tucson website, the organization and volunteers come together to build and repair houses to help create decent and modestly priced housing for those in need. 

The homes created by Habitat for Humanity are sustainable in a few senses of the word. The website explains how they are environmentally sustainable through its use of green appliances.

Homes built by the organization are also meant to be sustainable in regards to everyday life. Habitat for Humanity homes are designed to be long-lasting and comfortable enough to live in for a long time, giving people the stability they may not have had otherwise.

Julius Vellutato, Habitat for Humanity volunteer and senior majoring in physiology at the UA, is planning on spending his summer helping the organization with building homes. Vellutato likes to volunteer because it helps to get to know the community through action.

“I’ve remodeled for years, and I just wanted to volunteer so it made sense to me to be able to help the most [at Habitat for Humanity],” Vellutato said. “[Service] helps you get to know the community a lot better by being active. You see more than what you would on a day to day basis.”

Habitat for Humanity Tucson has both construction and non-construction opportunities for individuals to get involved with over the summer and throughout the school year. For those with a penchant for tools and building, the construction opportunities include building and repairing homes in the community with the community. 

Habitat for Humanity Tucson offers indoor opportunities like helping out at their office or the HabiStore, which their website describes as a place to buy new or used home tools and material. From customer service to repairing donated items to office work, volunteers have a plethora to choose from outside of just construction and building. 

To get involved with Habitat for Humanity Tucson, follow the instructions on the Volunteer tab of their website


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