The Cougar Volunteer Spirit is Alive and Well in Charleston

This blog is a project by public relations students at the College of Charleston. Since its inception in 2004, the Cougar Volunteer Spirit has showcased dozens of students who give of their time, effort and hearts to helping those in need. They don't do it for recognition like this, but their stories need to be shared because of their admirable qualities of character and caring. "Be the change you want to see in the world," Mahatma Ghandi said. That's the Cougar Volunteer Spirit that roars through these pages. Click on the side photos to see the articles. See photos of the students who wrote the pieces at the end. Thanks!

Friday, March 18, 2011


(Amy Dawson Left, Anna Beznova right )
CofC Senior Keeping The Cougar Spirit Alive
By Dan Markovich

Amy Dawson is a student entering her final year at the College of Charleston. Her time has not only been spent maintaining the Dean's List and working a full time job, but she also has taken time out of her harried life to help to those in need. I was given the pleasure of meeting Amy Four years ago and was immediately taken with her personable and caring nature. After getting to know her better, I discovered the unique compassion Amy had for her fellow human being.
The 211 United Way Hot line is her primary volunteer organization, and it takes someone who is concerned and emotionally strong to handle the strain of counseling with callers on this suicide hotline. This hot line is not the only volunteer organization Amy is associated with, but it seemed to have the greatest impact on her maturity as a person. Not just anyone has the skill sets and strength to interact with strangers in the volatile situations she is presented with. She proves her metal daily as she brings out the best in everyone she meets. I find it incomprehensible that anyone else could be more deserving of this award then she.

About Amy Dawson
Hometown:Myrtle Breach, S.C.
Graduation Date: May, 2011
Volunteer Activities Past/Present:211 hotline counselor, CofC fsychology lab research volunteer and unpaid intern at Dee Norton Lowcountry Children's Center (Center for Physically and sexually abused children and their families)
What do you enjoy most about community service? In general I like to help others. I just feel good when I help another human being. With 211 I feel like I directly help someone and potentially could save a life. If I save one person in all the hours I spend at the call center, it will be worth it.
Most memorable volunteer experience? There have been so many memorable experiences it is hard for me to chose one. Let's just say helping those in emotional distress, helping others help themselves by offering an open ear and a confidential place to talk about their feelings.
What are you most proud of contributing to your organization(s)? I'm proud that I take time out of my personal life to help others and that my emotional openness seems to help people.
How have you personally benefitted from volunteering? I personally feel I have become a stronger individual and learned to cope with in my own life better. It puts things in perspective when you see how many people have much harder problems by comparison and it makes my problems seem miniscule.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering? It's a gratifying and educational experience. Also its a place to learn about yourself while benefiting your community.
How do you think your friends and family would describe you? I've been told compassionate and generous. I was flattered when I heard this.
What are your plans after graduation?
To pursue a Ph.D. (eventually) in clinical psychology.
-To Learn more About 211 Hot line go to

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