For some clubs, giving back a year-round club


Volunteers from the SPARE Club empty recycling bins every Thursday. The groups has recently adopted Branham Park nearby, helping with weeding and beautification. The San Jose City Council in early December recognized the group for its efforts.

Julianne Alvares, Opinion Editor

As much as the holidays are a time for gathering and the exchanging of gifts, it is also a time to give back to one’s community. Students have been volunteering their time, aiming to make Branham and San Jose a better place.

According to NobleHour, a volunteer organization, 30 percent of total donations to nonprofits are made in December and 16 percent of adults volunteer for at least 2 hours during the month —this is 5 percent more than the rest of the year.  Students at Branham are not exempt from the holiday volunteer push, but are also involved year round whether through clubs or outside of school organizations.

For some, volunteering is a way to discover passions or future career paths.  One such example is junior Katia Yarkov who became involved in the Campbell Youth Commission after an interest in city government,

“I’ve always been pretty interested in politics and what’s going on in our community and the city,” said Yarkov. “That pushed me to be a part of [the commission].”

The Campbell Youth Commission is a group of students who organize and participate in events around the community, such as “Teens Teach Tech”, where teenagers teach the elderly how to use technology. The next event is geared toward helping seniors use apps such as Lyft and Uber.

Junior Talia Desai has been on the commission for three years and started the “Teams Teach Tech” with her sister, alumnus Sophia Desai.

“It’s really nice to just connect with them and teach them to do things that are more modern,” she said.

Students can also become involved through clubs. The Students Promoting Awareness of Recycling club provides students with opportunities to improve and clean up the campus. They also adopted Branham Park where they go to pull weeds and are planting a native species garden. In early December, they were honored at city hall for their efforts.

While the gardening may seem like hard work, it is a labor of love for those in the club.

“You can gain a sense of achievement by benefiting the school and the community while hanging out with your friends,” said junior Xiaomian Yang, president of SPARE and member of three years.

According to Yang, volunteering allows students to see the benefits of their work first hand.

“A lot of neighbors around the community came by and they were like ‘Oh you know Branham park looks cleaner than usual,’” said Yang.

Volunteering also provides students with an opportunity to help those less fortunate than them, an experience these volunteers call rewarding.

“I have grown up being very fortunate and a lot of people don’t have that,” said Desai, “To make a positive impact in any way feels very rewarding.”