Volunteering Does a Heart Good

By Tina Michelle Cameron

Ever since I was young, I have always had the desire to help others. I became a nurse in my early twenties and have been an oncology nurse since 1994. Helping others either professionally as a nurse or by doing volunteer work makes my heart smile. Volunteering can and will change your life as well as those you are helping.

Throughout the years I have volunteered with different cancer walks as well as being a yearly volunteer for the past 10 years with Fight Like a Girl here in Columbia. It was started by 5 amazing twenty-something’s who were diagnosed with breast cancer. They help raise money for unfunded, under insured patients at a large oncology center that I use to work at here in Columbia. I have also been a mentor to at risk youth at Dutch Fork Elementary School.

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Feta, my favorite goat at the zoo

I now volunteer four hours once a week at Riverbanks Zoo. I work in the Farm, zebra/ostrich area as well as the Education Center with snakes, rabbits, opossums, turtles, frogs and Madagascar hissing cock-roaches! It is the highlight of my week to be a “pooper scooper”, to feed and water them, to clean out their homes and to give these sweet babies hugs. I have been a volunteer for 13 months. It is hard manual labor and my doggy can’t quite figure out the different smells on my clothes and shoes when I get home, but, I absolutely love doing it.  I also enjoy helping the wonderful zookeepers at Riverbanks. I have a great love for all animals and it makes me smile to know I am helping them.

Despite my hectic schedule between two jobs, being in school full-time and volunteering, I wouldn’t have it any other way. After I finish my degree next May, I want to become a volunteer at Palmetto Health Richland Children’s Hospital.

There are numerous places to volunteer a few hours a week at. It will change your life and you can impact someone else’s life. Please consider volunteering either at a women’s shelter, the zoo, cancer walks or at a shelter handing out food. It will make your heart smile knowing you have given back to your community and to those who need help. I have listed a few links below for volunteer opportunities.

To become a zoo volunteer, go to https://riverbankszoo.org and complete an application. To help at the yearly breast cancer fundraiser hosted by Fight Like a Girl follow them on Facebook (The Ta-Tini’s)-the event is held every year in April or May.

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Family-Friendly Events

 By: Rebecca Stephenson, Guest Contributor 

FallSometimes it seems like there are a ton of Halloween and holiday events, but not a whole lot in between. If you want to create an unforgettable autumn experience for your family, you don’t need to look far! Columbia and Lexington are chock-full of fun events this November and December.  To help you on your quest for an awesome autumn, we’ve profiled a few local events that just might help your family make some new traditions.

  1. Check out the unusual 5-person performance of A Christmas Carol at the Trustus Theatre in Columbia. The show will be performed every Sunday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from November 1-16. Don’t miss this creative take on the Charles Dickens’ classic!
  2. If you’re feeling adventurous, visit the Deep Seas Adventure Corn Maze at Clinton Sease Farm in Columbia. The 8-acre corn maze, which will be open until November 17th, is fun for the whole family!
  3. Don’t miss the 28th Annual Vista Lights Holiday Season Kickoff in Columbia on November 21st at the intersection of Gervais and Lincoln.  There will be dancing, live music, free food, and more from 5 pm to 9 pm!  The kickoff ends with the tree lighting with the mayor.
  4. Experience Columbia’s longest running holiday tradition as Columbia’s Riverbanks Zoo and Garden lights up every night from November 22 through December 30th at Lights Before Christmas. Take your family to see the animals and the amazing display of almost 1 million lights from 5-9 pm.
  5. The Village Square Theatre in Lexington is hosting a Gingerbread/Graham Cracker House Contest on November 23rd from 10 am to 12 pm. The $5 registration for the event will be donated to the American Cancer Society and Lexington County Arts Association. Gingerbread-enthusiasts of all ages are encouraged to build houses and enter them in the contest.
  6. On December 8th, the Lexington County Museum will have its annual Holiday Open House from 1-4 pm. The free event will feature lots of goodies to enjoy as you stroll through the mid-19th century house.

What are your family’s fall traditions? If you know of other events in our area, please share them with us.