Campus & Community

Palm Beach State College Student United Way wins national award for service

After just a year and a half of operation, the Palm Beach State College Student United Way has received a national award for logging more than 3,000 community service hours through local volunteer activities in 2013-2014.Servicecollage

United Way Worldwide presented the Student United Way, based at the Lake Worth campus, with the VOLUNTEER Promising Practice Award earlier this month. It was among only nine Student United Way clubs on college campuses across the United States to receive awards for their “innovative approaches to giving, advocating and volunteering to improve lives and communities.” Student United Way organizations exist on nearly 80 college campuses around the world and have recently expanded to include some high school clubs.

Shona Castillo, volunteer program specialist, said the Palm Beach State Student United Way, which was established in fall 2012, works closely with the United Way of Palm Beach County. Members volunteer weekly at the Lake Worth Pantry and the Riviera Beach Pantry operated by CROS Ministries. They also volunteer for Special Olympics Area Games, participate in Palm Beach County Solid Waste Authority environmental cleanups and Paint Your Heart Out events, and are involved in numerous other community service activities.  Last year, Castillo took eight students to Biloxi, Miss. for the United Way Alternative Spring Break. Instead of spending their week on the beach, students traveled 12 hours by van to work on beautification projects in a community still recovering from Hurricane Katrina. She said they worked with Habitat for Humanity and the Boys and Girls Clubs.

“I’m just incredibly proud of all of our student volunteers,’’ Castillo said.

“Palm Beach State College truly embraces what it means to LIVE UNITED, helping to make a positive, lasting change in Palm Beach County,’’ said Donna Pulda, director of volunteer services at the United Way of Palm Beach County.

The Student United Way of Palm Beach State received a trophy and certificate, and it will receive partial funding to help members attend the Student United Way Leadership Retreat in Alexandria, Va., in September.

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