PAC students give back through volunteer work

Photo of Students at PAC's Alternative Spring Break 2019 in New Orleans, La. Photo by Denise B. Richter, Ph.D.
Students at PAC’s Alternative Spring Break 2019 in New Orleans, La. Photo by Denise B. Richter, Ph.D.

By Amber Esparza
Pulse Staff Reporter

Students at Palo Alto College are doing what they can to give back to people in need this holiday season.

Communications Major Defranco Sarabia is very active in the community. Not only does he believe that it’s important to volunteer during the holiday season, but he believes volunteerism should be practiced year-round.

“I need to volunteer,” said Sarabia.

Sarabia gets his “volunteer fix” by working with organizations, such as Police Explorers and the 100 Club, and at various city events, like the Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner.

Another PAC student, Ashley Flores, a Criminal Justice major, has been volunteering in her community since she was a high school student. Flores has volunteered at the San Antonio Food Bank and at a church operated by the family of a close friend to provide food for people in need.

“It just feels good [to give back],” Flores said.

PAC work-study employee and Biology major Gabriela Rios has not done much community volunteer work recently, but she gives back in other ways to help the people who have helped her. She gives her time and knowledge to friends by offering to tutor them in difficult courses.

“There are people out there who have so little. Even just being nice can make a big impact,” said Rios.

Students and staff at Palo Alto College have many opportunities to volunteer and give back to their community.

The S.H.A.R.E Center at Palo Alto College houses a food pantry that is open to both students and the community. In the food pantry, students can volunteer to help prep food carts for deliveries, unload supplies from food delivery trucks, stock shelves in the pantry and survey students and community members who use the S.H.A.R.E. Center.

Other volunteer opportunities at PAC include blood drives, donating clothing, such as coats and socks for the homeless to the Logistics Club, donating extra toys, giving wrapping paper and tape to the Little Palomino Tree Project and working in the Community Garden by helping to water, weed, mulch and clean.

Palo Alto College also hosts Alternative Winter and Spring Breaks for PAC students, where students go on out-of-state trips to help communities who need assistance. PAC Alternative Winter Break 2020 will take place in New Orleans from Jan. 5 to Jan. 11. Students will work with Camp Restore in New Orleans to focus on environmental sustainability within the community.

Hunter Bates, PAC’s coordinator of Student Success, organizes the Alternative Breaks. Bates does not believe that students do all of their learning inside of the classroom, which is why he organizes these trips and volunteer opportunities for students to participate in experiential learning activities to develop social responsibility.

“In addition to the [community] service, it is an opportunity for students to explore different cities and travel,” said Bates.

To volunteer in the S.H.A.R.E. Center at Palo Alto College, call 210-486-3121 or visit the PAC Serves page on AlamoSync. To learn more about PAC’s Alternative Breaks, contact Bates in the S.H.A.R.E. Center or email him at