San Diego, beyond its picturesque beaches and sunny Southern California weather, is a city brimming with a variety of different people from all walks of life. With this reality comes the difficult realization that many of these people need our help.
For example, there is an estimated 11,000 homeless people in San Diego as of August 2017. Luckily, this city offers endless opportunities for people to get involved in charities and non-profit organizations that are dedicated to helping causes like fighting homelessness, animal rescue services, and more.
PLNU students have a variety of options when it comes to making an impact while also getting off campus. These experiences not only help the community, but serve as valuable tools in preparation for the lives that students will lead beyond this campus.
“If you believe that each person is God’s creation and intended to be part of the body of Christ, whatever you do for others helps to strengthen that body,” said PLNU’s Director of Social Work Patricia Leslie. “As Christians, regardless of denomination, we are called to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, aid the widow and orphan, visit with the sick and imprisoned and do whatever else we can to help those around us.”
There are a number of PLNU students who have recognized these needs in the community and have decided to take action. Junior Mariele Lensink has channeled her passion for animals and her dreams of becoming a veterinary physician into volunteering at the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA every week.
The San Diego Humane Society and SPCA is a non-profit organization that strives to prevent the cruelty and neglect of animals, offers medical care, and seeks to educate the community on the humane treatment of animals.
“I’ve witnessed the effects that abuse and abandonment can have on animals and it’s heartbreaking, but with this organization, I also get to experience the joy that comes from being a part of their healing process,” said Lensink.
Another PLNU student, junior Madeline Lenz, has dedicated much of her time to investing in young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by volunteering with Young Life Capernaum, an organization that seeks to give teenagers and young adults with disabilities the chance to experience adventure, develop relationships, and challenge their limits while building self-esteem.
“Capernaum has impacted my life in too many ways to count,” said Lenz. “Being friends with people who have disabilities has made me a happier, braver and kinder person. I owe everything I am today to their friendships.”
There are hundreds of ways to get involved in the San Diego area and, yes, you can make the difference.
“When you invest in your community, you get to be a part of the progress you want to see. Supporting your community builds hope and relationships that make the world a better place and influences the people around you in a positive way,” said Lensink.
To learn more about how you can get involved in your local San Diego community visit 211SanDiego.org.