Volunteers give more than money to local agencies

It is the time of year known for giving, and faculty and staff are getting into the holiday spirit through the WSU Combined Fund Drive.

The CFD is a way for state employees to donate, via payroll deductions, to more than 1,600 local, national or international charities through a single campaign.

In operation for 20 years, the CFD reduces fund-raising costs due to increased donation efficiency, and that translates into more money going directly to employees’ charities of choice.

While funds are crucial to charity operations, some WSU faculty and staff donate their time and effort, as well, to local charities supported by the CFD to directly provide service to those in need.

Sheri Babb, a biological sciences technician, volunteers up to 10 hours a week as an instructor with Palouse Area Therapeutic Horsemanship. The organization provides an opportunity for people with disabilities to ride horses, which can be emotionally and physically therapeutic for the rider.

Babb said it was her childhood experiences of showing horses with friends who had disabilities, and the joy it brought them, that sparked her interest in PATH. For more than three years Babb has volunteered with the organization, originally serving as a side and lead horse walker, and later certifying to teach the riding classes.

“It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done,” she said. “I feel so good on the way home.”

Debi Robinson-Smith, assistant director of the Women’s Resource Center, also is dedicating time weekly to CFD causes. As a board member and advisor for YWCA at WSU and chair of the board of directors for the Palouse Regional Crisis Line, Robinson-Smith’s volunteer schedule can range widely depending on each organization’s activities. However, she said it is the importance and value of the work each organization does that inspires her to donate her time.

Robinson-Smith encouraged faculty and staff to serve local organizations, and said the personal rewards gained by volunteering outweigh the time invested.“It enriches your life so much to do something for your community,” she said.

For information on year-end giving through the CFD, see http://www.wsu.edu/wsucfd.

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