By Damaris Trevizo
In The Cities Editor
College of the Desert (COD) and organizations throughout the Coachella Valley offer various beneficial opportunities through internships and volunteer work. For students who plan on transferring to another college/university, anyone in search for a new career, or a person who simply wants to try something new , these useful options are available.
On December 3, COD held a volunteer fair that presented multiple companies in search of students willing to aid their organization. Several businesses attended including Friends of the Desert Mountains, Safehouse, and Christopher’s Clubhouse.
These organizations are dedicated to creating positive impacts on as many people as they can. When it comes to volunteering, they all seemed to agree that those who participate gain insight, an advantage on job opportunities, and an additional valuable experience to list on their resume. Mika Moulton, founding director for Christopher’s Clubhouse, states that “it’s a really good social experience and good to have it on your college resume, if you want to transfer to another college, or even as a job opportunity, showing that you’re a volunteer (helps).”
Because numerous students are unsure of what to major in during their first few years of college, volunteer experiences and internships are a way to become open-minded about various opportunities that may greatly impact future decisions when choosing a major or career. Member of Friends of the Desert Mountains, Janice Heronema, states, “You never quite know what you want to do when you’re in college so volunteering is a perfect opportunity, you don’t have to pay anything, and you get wonderful experts and specialists helping you through.”
Volunteer work and internships can teach important life lessons and can move people up a peg when applying for scholarships, universities, and job applications. Safehouse Community Outreach & Safe Place Coordinator, Birgit Phillips, states, “It gives them an idea if that’s really for them and it also helps build their resume; a lot of organizations like to see volunteer work/internships at non-profits.”
College of the Desert Work Experience Instructor, Michelle Richards, shared similar thoughts. “Linking academics with a real work environment, before graduation, has amazing benefits for students,” states Richards. “Students will learn if they are in a field they like before it’s too late to change majors. They will have applicable experience on their resume, which in turn gives them an advantage over other recent graduates when they are competing for the same job.”
College of the Desert offers its students various internship opportunities through their Work Experience Education program and online Job-board website, collegecentral.com/cod. According to Sandi Lydeen, College of the Desert Work Experience Instructor, “College of the Desert’s online job board is a fantastic resource for students and alumni to search for local jobs and internships. The website also allows students to create and save their resume. Students can register for a free account and as new jobs are posted, those students can receive emails set to fit their specific job target.”
Daniel Kasang, member of Friends of the Desert Mountains, states, “The opportunities are out there; I’d definitely say volunteering and internships are a big way to really make those networking connections because everyone’s connected within a certain field, and to build your experience and your range of skills, so when you get to that job application, you’re comfortable saying ‘Yes, I have experience in this, yes I know how to do that, and I know how to implement these things’.”
My own experiences have led me to realize my passion for communications and journalism. I currently dedicate time to volunteer work and have an internship that I was able to attain through the COD’s Cooperative Work Experience Education program. I highly recommend partaking in such experiences and searching for these types of opportunities that will benefit you throughout your own life.
The Work Experience Office is located on the COD campus, inside the Business Building (1K) and can be contacted by calling (760) 862-1344 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact Friends of the Desert Mountains, call (760) 568-9918 or email email@example.com
For a volunteer opportunity at Safehouse, call (760) 343-3211 ext. 24 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on Christopher’s Clubhouse, visit www.christophersclubhouse.org