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 20, 2011

KATIE ANDERSON- MUSC Children's Hospital & St. Vincent de Paul Society

By Ashley Miller

Katie Anderson on the New Cooper River Bridge

Katie Anderson somehow finds time to volunteer for two great organizations in the midst of completing a degree in molecular biology and applying for medical school.

Whether she’s spending time with patients at MUSC children’s Hospital or helping to collect donations to help those in need, giving her time to help others is something Katie said she feels is very important.

Find more in my blog about Katie and how volunteering has impacted her life while she impacts the lives of others.

About Katie Anderson...
Name: Katie Anderson
Hometown: Goose Creek, S.C.
Expected Graduation: May 2011
Volunteer Organizations: MUSC Children’s Hospital Volunteer (Feb. 2009-Present), St. Vincent de Paul Society volunteer (Feb. 2010-Present).

What kind of things do you do at your volunteer organizations? At the Children’s hospital, I get to spend one-on-one time with the patients and play games or make crafts with them in the playroom or in the patient’s room. The St. Vincent de Paul Society is a charitable organization based out of the two Catholic churches downtown, and we collect donations once a month and then use the funds to help people in a tight spot with their electric bills, rent, food, or other expenses. We serve people specifically on the peninsula when they call our help line for assistance.

What do you enjoy most about community service? I enjoy meeting new people from different backgrounds and being able to support or help them in any way that I can. I like learning about the challenges people in our community face and witnessing their strength and perseverance.

Most memorable volunteer experience? I’ve had so many great experiences both at the hospital and around the community with St. Vincent de Paul society, it’s hard to pick just one! Once, I was able to meet a child who was a frequent visitor to the hospital, and we had so much fun playing video games during my shift. He had such a bright personality and was so goofy and funny. When I had to leave, he exclaimed, “Ok, I’ll see you next time I come back!” I was glad I was able to make the hospital a happy place, and his happiness just brightened my whole day.

What are you most proud of contributing to your volunteer organizations? I am most proud of making a regular contribution of my time to the Children’s hospital and the St. Vincent de Paul Society. At this point in my life, I think my most valuable contribution is my time and enthusiasm for volunteering. I like being a consistent and reliable presence for my organizations.

How have you personally benefitted from volunteering? I have learned so much about the needs of people in the community and people facing the challenges of disease in the hospital. Volunteering has helped prepare me for a future career in medicine and has helped shape my career goals so that I can help those most in need. I have learned that people in need are sometimes just right around the corner, and I have learned that there are many diverse ways to help people. Volunteering has been one of the best experiences throughout college.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering? I would definitely recommend volunteering as a great learning and life experience. I would find a program where you can make a regular commitment and can use your strengths in your work. For me, volunteering is something I look forward to every week. You can learn so much about people beyond your immediate circle of friends and acquaintances, and I think simply giving your time to help another can send a valuable message and can strengthen a feeling of community. Sometimes, you can give people strength to face their challenges simply by listening!

How do you think your friends and family would describe you? I think they would describe me as an easygoing and happy person!

What are your plans after graduation? I will be attending either MUSC or Georgetown for medical school next year. I am not sure about what kind of physician I want to be yet, but am excited for the opportunity to continue helping people for my career!

For more information about Katie and her volunteer organizations please contact Ashley Miller at

About the author: Ashley is a junior communication major with a concentration in media studies. She volunteers at PetHelpers in her free time.

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