While most Seattle Pacific University students lay happily in bed, enjoying well-deserved rest at 8a.m. on a Saturday, roughly 70 students were up and scattered throughout the city on the morning of Oct. 24.
For these students, this day brought the opportunity to give back to the community with Latreia’s first service day. Latreia is a student group that works with various organizations across Seattle to coordinate bi-quarterly volunteer days.
Providing students with a wide variety of volunteer opportunities in contexts relevant to their interests, Latreia helps connect students with the greater Seattle community in ways that they may not have done before. They may potentially make long-term connections with organizations which they may not otherwise have known existed.
Latreia strives to provide a gateway into service opportunities in Seattle. Once students have been made aware that these organizations exist, future volunteering should ideally be more frequent and accessible.
On this particular day, Latreia sent groups of students to five different volunteer sites. Those sites included Reach Ministries, which works to encourage families afflicted by HIV, and Refugee Women’s Alliance, an organization that works to provide opportunities and education for women from other cultures.
Additionally, some students visited L’Arche Noah Sealth, a group of homes for people with developmental disabilities. Others chose to visit World Concern, the organization combatting global poverty, or Rainier Valley Food Bank, which distributes food to more than 2,000 people every Wednesday and Saturday.
Freshman Jonathan Corcoran was part of the team that worked with Reach Ministries in the on-campus Art Center, where they made cards and advent calendars to give to the families of people suffering from HIV.
“It was really cool to be able to show these kids that there are people who care and are looking out for them,” Corcoran said.
Corcoran has always been interested in volunteering and community service, so when he heard about Latreia he was immediately interested.
“It was a great experience. Especially for just taking a measly few hours out of your day, you can make such a huge difference in people’s lives,” Corcoran said.
The Latreia team consists of seven student volunteers ranging from sophomores to seniors. The coordinator this year is third-year student Jessica Stunz, in her second year on Latreia Core after being the Social Media coordinator last year.
Being service-oriented, she was initially drawn to the ministry in her first year on campus because it wasn’t a weekly commitment, allowing her to fit it into her busy schedule.
According to Stunz, the opportunities for serving others and getting to know a different part of the Seattle community are two things Latreia gave her this year.
“We want to be known as more than just the pancake people,” Stunz laughed, referring to the pancake breakfast at the start of each service day. “We want to show people that we’re a campus group who engages with Seattle in a really meaningful way, and we want to help students get to know the people who live there.”
Latreia Core is a group of students with a passion for the greater Seattle community, and that showed at every site on Saturday. There will be four new sites for the November service day, and the Latreia Core hopes to see even more students taking time from their weekends to give back to the community in which they live.
“Latreia is a great way to serve alongside a group of friends,” Stunz said. “It can be really powerful to serve alongside people you know and get to know them in a more meaningful way in that place of vulnerability.”