Students volunteer with Latreia

Chloe Guillot

Community service organizations encourages students to get involved and create community

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The Falcons headed to SPU to restore Discovery Park. Adriana Rendon | The Falcon

As the quarter draws to a close and the season of giving begins, some students take the opportunity to give back to their community with an unconventional gift: community service.

Latreia, an organization which is a part of the John Perkins Center, is a biquarterly engagement opportunity that allows students to volunteer at organizations in the greater Seattle area. Although Latreia events only occur a handful of times throughout the year, they are designed to foster long-lasting relationships within the city and college communities.

“Our aim is to get campus students out and connected into community with different opportunities,” said Caenisha Warren, the staff advisor for Lingua. “We are not necessarily going to the same sites each time, but that exposure helps students understand what organizations and agencies are out in Seattle.”

Every Latreia event starts with a pancake breakfast. Students file in, grab a plate of freshly made pancakes and gather at tables with the people they will be serving with for the day.

The breakfast allowed students to get to know each other before their service projects begin, and throughout the day, Latreia leaders hope that these relationships will foster.

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Students at discovery park participate in community service to restore the natural environment. Adriana Rendon | The Falcon

“We want to create a community within Seattle Pacific University with people who have similar interests; to get people who do like community service together and create a better community in the university,” Melanny Kanemitsu said.

Kanemitsu, who had volunteered with both Latreia and Urban Involvement, is the social media coordinator for Latreia.

After volunteering with many engagement events throughout the years, Kanemitsu still pushes herself to have new experiences. During the first engagement day of the year in October, Kanemitsu volunteered with an organization called Green Seattle and spent the morning digging up weeds in a nearby park, an experience that challenged her in a new way.

“I am not a very big outdoors person, so I pushed myself to get out of my comfort zone and do something outdoors,” Kanemitsu said.

“I think it was really rewarding and I really enjoyed talking and getting to know people.”

During the latest Latreia event on Nov. 17, volunteers had the chance to volunteer with the Ballard Boys and Girls Club, Empowering Youth and Families Outreach, or a Green Seattle location in Discovery Park. First-year Grace Barthelmess, an ecology major, chose to attend the Green Seattle event and found the experience of inspiring and educational.

“This is related to some of the things I want to do in the future with ecology, and taking care of the environment is a huge part of that,” Barthelmess said.

“I was really excited to be able to put that into practice and not just talk about it in a class but actually get out and do something that was helpful for the environment.”

Although Kanemitsu and Barthelmess chose to volunteer with Green Seattle for different reasons, they both found the experience rewarding and enjoyed the new relationships they built along the way. For Barthelmess, the opportunity to serve with her classmates was a factor in her decision to spend a cold, Saturday morning planting trees.

“I think community service is important and I thought it’d be really cool to do it with the SPU community,” Barthelmess said.