While volunteering among college students has been dropping steadily over the past few years, with only 22 percent of students volunteering their time this year according to USA Today, Collin College student Chance Sharpsteen defies that statistic.
Sharpsteen, who volunteered more than 1,500 hours of his time to Habitat for Humanity was honored by the organization for his dedication to service. A portion of the volunteer hours were a part of Collin College’s Service Learning Program.
He began his journey in volunteering at Plano’s ReStore, a business that sells donated items and gives the profit to Habitat for Humanity. Sharpsteen helps by answering phones, categorizing donated items and interacting with customers.
“My favorite thing about volunteering is getting to know different people,” Sharpsteen said. “You never know who might walk in the front door and who you might meet.”
The spirit of giving back runs in the family as both of Sharpsteen’s parents are involved with charitable organizations.
“At first, I was really hesitant to start volunteering,” Sharpsteen said. “It was just something that my parents did and wasn’t sure if I wanted to get really involved. But after I started volunteering I really liked it.”
In addition to his work with ReStore, some of his best experiences came through a Collin College Service Learning Program in which he and four other students helped build a home for Habitat for Humanity. Service Learning at Collin College applies knowledge in real-world situations with a service that benefits the community. Often, service-learning projects are a part of classes and help achieve specific learning objectives.
Working side-by-side with the homeowner and other Collin College students was a gratifying experience, Sharpsteen said.
“When I first saw it, the home was in terrible shape and the roof was caving in,” Sharpsteen said. “We were able to change that. We made a lot of improvements and the home is completely different. Building the house was an awesome experience.”
For his project and presentation of service learning, Sharpsteen received a scholarship from Collin College.
“I’d recommend anyone interested in volunteering to give it a try,” Sharpsteen said. “Find something that you really want to do or are interested in. It will be incredibly rewarding.”