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!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


The Sweetest Girl on Campus
by: Rianne Mullins

Dede (front left) at one of the events she coordinated for her sorority,
Chi Omega. She had two public safety officers come to the sorority house
to demonstrate to the girls how to defend themselves in a time of need.

It does not take long after first meeting Dede Bearden to realize how genuine of a person she truly is. She will freely tell you that she did not have the easiest time adjusting to life at the College of Charleston after moving from her hometown, Nashville, Tenn. Now that she is more settled as a junior, she has definitely found her niche and made a solid name for herself around campus, and a great one at that.

If you were to ask the people who know Dede the best, they would tell you that she is one of the more thoughtful people that they know. Whether it is remembering a friend’s birthday, doing activities as her sorority’s vice president or volunteering as a tutor at the local YMCA twice a week, she is always thinking about how to enrich peoples’ lives around her.

Getting to know Dede Bearden…

Hometown: Nashville, Tenn.

Major: Communications

Anticipated Graduation: May 2012

What do you enjoy most about community service?

What I like about volunteering is that it allows you to step out of your own world or "bubble." College students, especially, can easily get too caught up into their own problems or daily life. We have school, jobs, and sometimes fraternities or sororities to think about, and we forget that there is a community outside of our college environment. By volunteering, you get perspective back on bigger issues. You also gain appreciation for the things you have. On a day-to-day basis, I often forget how lucky I am, and volunteering can reopen your eyes to that.

What would you say your most memorable volunteer experience ever was?

When I was in eighth grade, my class went to volunteer at a local soup kitchen as a field trip. It was one of my first experiences volunteering, and I was so moved by the organization and working for the homeless, that I wrote a letter to the head of the soup kitchen. I also donated my 16th birthday money to the non-profit called Samaritan Ministries. When I sent the check for a few hundred dollars as well as my letter Samaritan ministries called me. They had News Channel 5 in Nashville come to my house to interview me and put me on TV. I was on the local news as the "volunteer of the week."

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