TCU Daily Skiff Orientation Issue 2004
Frog Fountain
TCU LEAPS allows students to jump into a new level of service for school, community

By Michelle Moore
Skiff Staff

If you are a new student wanting to get acquainted with some new people and the Fort Worth community, TCU LEAPS might just be for you.

The program, which began five years ago, gives students an opportunity to give back to the community.

TCU LEAPS consists of a one-day service event where groups are dispersed all over town to volunteer their time and effort. Local agencies host the event each year.

This year’s student director, Amanda Velasquez, feels it is a great way to give back to the community.

“People often say they are interested in community service but don’t know where to begin,” she said. “LEAPS is a jumping off point for those people.

“It’s only one day, and you’re making a significant difference because it can serve as an inspiration and make community service part of one’s life,” she said.

This year’s event will take place on a Saturday in October. Program officials like to get students involved early in the year so that they can meet many new people, especially if they are new to the area, Velasquez said.

Student sign-ups will start in the fall. There will be booths set up around campus as well as mailers sent out.

Velasquez said a lot of advertising goes into LEAPS and that is how she got involved.

“I remember seeing a table set up in the Main, so I asked about the event, thought it sounded great and I signed up,” she said.

Coordinator Robin Williamson said anyone affiliated with TCU can join. This means students, professors, parents and siblings can all take part. Sign-up is free and a T-shirt is provided.

Students will meet early on the designated LEAPS day and will then be assigned to random groups. Participants are treated to breakfast and the groups will then go off to perform their volunteer duties. When they return, lunch is provided as well.

Last year nearly 700 people volunteered for the program.

When students arrive the day of the event, they are assigned to a small group with a team leader. Velasquez and Williamson both feel it is important that participants be assigned to random groups because it helps people become acquainted with each other.

“LEAPS is like a five-hour Frog Camp in the sense that you will meet new people,” Velasquez said. “You have a bond with these people because you will work with them toward the same goal: To serve and help the community.”

Though students are encouraged to get to know one another, Velasquez said the main goal is to focus on community service because people get involved for that purpose in the first place.

Velasquez said the sense of accomplishment that volunteers feel afterward is wonderful and makes the day worth it.

“When everyone looks at the work they perform over the two hours, they can really see they made a difference,” she said.

TCU LEAPS was started by students for students. It is completely student run and it aims to get people out into the community. It also gives people the opportunity to give back throughout the year if they so choose.

“There are definitely more opportunities throughout the year to get involved in, the volunteer process can last more than one day,” Williamson said.

Velasquez said as a member of the executive committee, she has become very passionate about the program and loves to see it succeed.

“It is such a joy to see the thank you letters we receive from the agencies telling us how appreciative they are for our day of service,” she said.

Williamson also believes that the program is beneficial to TCU.

“By getting involved, I believe it shapes who we are, and it also fulfills our mission statement,” Williamson said.
TCU Daily Skiff ©2004
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