Students Give a Saturday to help others in need

Mar 21, 2022
Two students volunteer to paint a trail for Give a Saturday.

Florida Polytechnic University students Pressley Hendrix, left, and David Dawson refresh the paint on the Born Learning Trail at Lake Parker Park as part of the University’s Give a Saturday community volunteering initiative.

For Florida Polytechnic University junior Pressley Hendrix, volunteering and helping has always been second nature.

“I grew up volunteering and it always has been part of my life,” said Hendrix, a business analytics major and former Eagle Scout. “Now I try to bring that out in others.”

Hendrix again stepped into this familiar role recently when he volunteered to be part of Give a Saturday, a new volunteering initiative at Florida Poly. He joined a small group that refreshed the faded paint on the Born Learning Trail at Lake Parker Park in Lakeland, Florida.

“I’m a person who believes in good karma, so I feel if I get out and help others, then a little help will come my way eventually when I need it,” said Hendrix, a native of Jacksonville, Florida. “I just like going out and making sure people are OK getting through the day.”

Give a Saturday launched in January 2022 and provides students with a new volunteering project for a few hours on one Saturday each month. The group works with the United Way to identify volunteer opportunities, and transportation is provided to students if needed.

“This was an effort to create opportunities for students to get out and engage by serving the community,” said Seth Spencer, Florida Poly’s internship coordinator who is leading the initiative. “By getting out in the community and partnering with nonprofit organizations, we find there’s lots more we can offer than just our intellect in class.”

The group’s first effort was assisting Blessings and Hope Food Pantry distribute food, and its second was the project at Lake Parker Park. On March 26, student volunteers will help at the Polk City food distribution site for the George W. Jenkins End Hunger Initiative. 

David Dawson, a senior majoring in computer science, has participated in both efforts so far.

“I just felt like doing it – it’s a good idea because charity work and volunteer work often gets overlooked by some students because maybe it’s a day they would have free and they’d rather use it to relax or spend time with friends,” Dawson said. “But there’s also a lot of good in just helping people.”

Dawson, from Jacksonville, Florida, said the effects of the groups’ work were felt immediately at Lake Parker Park.

“Kids came over and said they appreciated the help because they liked playing hopscotch there,” he said. “They were really happy, which was really cool.”

Students interested in participating in Give a Saturday should contact Spencer.


Lydia Guzmán
Director of Communications