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

Virginia Green - Darkness to Light

By Heather Dolan

Virginia and her dog, Suki

Virginia Green is eccentric and extraordinarily quirky. As a full time student, part-time barista, horse back rider, Ultimate frisbee player, an avid yoga enthusiast, and dog owner, Virginia has an extremely limited amount of free time. As hectic as her life is, Virginia dedicates copious amounts of her time to an organization called Darkness to Light.

Darkness to Light works diligently to prevent child sexual abuse. They do this by running programs that raise awareness of the prevalence and consequences of child sexual abuse by educating adults as to the steps that can be taken to prevent, recognize and react appropriately to the reality of child sexual abuse.

Virginia has volunteered her time and attention to Darkness to Light for years and has recently been awarded a paid position.

Sitting down with Virginia to discuss the questions for the Cougar Volunteer Spirit website was an undeniably enjoyable experience. Virginia is a woman who exudes confidence and contentedness - the kind of person to make you laugh before you even take a seat.

Hometown: Charleston, SC
Major: International Studies
Expected Graduation: Fall, 2012

What volunteer activities have you recently participated in?
I used to volunteer at a local nursing home, but recently I've just spread myself so thin that I can only really focus on Darkness to Light now. In the past year, I've volunteered over 100 hours of my time to D2L and I don't regret one second of it.

What do you most enjoy about community service?
Networking. I've met a lot of people in several different industries through volunteering for D2L. Community service also shows that you're not only responsible, capable and not solely monetarily driven. All of the people you meet along the way will remember that and be much more likely to hire you later.

What is your most memorable volunteer experience?
I would have to say that being promoted to a paid position has been the most memorable experience for me. It was really an honor to have my efforts recognized in such a positive way. I know that it's not a memory of what we're working for at D2L, but it definitely has been a highlight of my time there. Being recognized for doing something that you know is beneficial for others is an amazing feeling.

What are you most proud of contributing to Darkness to Light?
Knowing that I, along with the help and hard work of a team of dedicated people, may be able to either protect a child from sexual abuse or perhaps provide someone who has experienced child sexual abuse with the resources to cope and lead a healthy life is definitely something I'm proud of. I'm proud of every moment I contribute to Darkness to Light because every second I'm there, I'm doing something that truly helps others and that is something to be proud of.

How have you personally benefitted from volunteering?
Well, I got a great job out of it, as well as a guaranteed job after graduation, should I choose to accept it. But I've also gained a lot of self-confidence and happiness through volunteering. Helping other people just makes you feel good about yourself. The fact that something you are doing is benefitting person in need, especially a victim of child sexual abuse, is an extremely gratifying feeling.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering?
TO DO IT. Feels good. Looks good. Does good.

How do you think your friends and family would describe you?
Umm...I don't really know. I guess loud and outgoing and perky. Depends who you ask I guess, My friends would probably say wild and impulsive at times. I like to try new things and explore new places and ideas. I'm an out-of-the-box kind of thinker.

What are your plans after graduation?
SO MANY. I want to do a million different things. I would love to continue my work with Darkness to Light, but after graduation, so many new options will be available to me. I think what I really want to do is to do humanitarian aid work for a relief effort in an Arab state or maybe Africa. I'm taking Arabic classes right now to prepare myself for that because its something I really am considering. I also think it would be interesting to start a magazine or periodical. Maybe I'll join a band of gypsies and make my living reading fortunes, who knows?

How can someone who wants to volunteer for Darkness to Light do so?
There is ALWAYS work to be done, so if you want to volunteer and are capable, you will definitely be put to work. If someone is interested though, they can go to

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