VEAP loves our volunteer corps of 3,000 people! In our Volunteer Spotlight series, we highlight their amazing work and dedication in advancing VEAP’s mission.
When did you get involved with VEAP?
Ramalynn Academy has been collecting food and books for VEAP for the past 10 years. In 2010 our student council wanted to do a food drive during November to support our local families. Our school founder, Lynn Ramalingam, had done some work previously with VEAP and suggested it to our students. Each classroom collected food that year with a great sense of pride. When the next year rolled around we wanted to collect even more and make it bigger and better! We decided to have a contest to see which classroom could collect the most items to donate with the prize being an ice cream party for the winners. Well, as you can imagine, this delicious incentive motivated our students! Every year Ramalynn is excited to begin our annual food and book drive for VEAP and we are even more thrilled to now be sending our 4th-8th grade students to the warehouse to volunteer on a regular basis!
What makes volunteering meaningful for you/your group?
Our mission statement here at Ramalynn is to teach respect, tolerance and compassion to all life on Earth. We believe that by volunteering our time and our resources, we are helping to reach this mission statement goal. Volunteering helps to instill the lifelong value of helping others as well as to build confidence and compassion within the volunteer themselves. I think the students as well as the teachers take away such a feeling of happiness after donating and volunteering. It gives us a sense of pride and a realization that there is more to life than just meeting our own needs. The needs of others around us are important as well.
Is there a particular moment or favorite memory that stands out from volunteering?
This year we collected nearly 2 tons of food and over 500 books! What an amazing feat! In order to load up all of the cars we needed to transport our food and books, we formed a human chain with our students, teachers and parents. All of our 1st through 8th grade students formed a line from inside the school to the cars waiting outside passing the bags of food and books down the chain to the cars outside. It was so much fun! It really brought us all together and was the highlight of our week for sure!
What might someone be surprised to learn about your group?
Ramalynn as some of the brightest, most well-behaved and motivated students in Minnesota! We are so proud of their commitment to education and for having the mentality that it’s cool to be smart! Along with our academic successes, we also have an award winning after school Sports Program which has produced several professional athletes in soccer, football, hockey and basketball!
What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering at VEAP?
Do it! Volunteer! Volunteering brings such a rewarding feeling to an individual and a group! It gets you out of the “me, me, me” mindset and opens your eyes to the needs of others. It’s also fun and let’s you meet new people.
Is there anything else you’d like to share? Any question I should have asked you but did not?
We thank you for allowing Ramalynn the opportunity to volunteer in your warehouse and for providing food and support to our community. We appreciate all that you do for us and for others!