Category Archives: Volunteerism

Richland College Counselor Gives Back and Offers Free Yoga Sessions to Campus Community

Julie Hanson practices yoga with several other people.Richland College personal counselor Julie Hanson first began practicing yoga after her father passed away when she was 27-years-old.

“I was struggling with grief,” Hanson said. “I heard yoga could help, and the rest is history.”

For the past four years, Hanson has been giving back the gift of yoga to the Richland College campus community by offering free, weekly yoga sessions to students, faculty and staff members to help manage their stress.

“People need it,” said Hanson. “Talking about what causes stress is important, but putting talk into action takes it to another level. Yoga is an efficient way to reduce stress and is accessible for most people. Participants often tell me they’ve never felt as relaxed as they do at the end of a class.”

Each week, Hanson’s yoga participants come to her sessions to feel more relaxed and open, learning new breathing techniques and a variety of yoga poses that can be done anywhere. The hour-long sessions offer a chance for members of the campus community to give their brains and bodies a break. Hanson says anyone can do yoga—all the poses can be modified, even for people who can’t get on the floor. She often tells attendees that all they have to do is breathe a little more than what it takes to stay alive to succeed in yoga.

“Julie manages to transform a conference room into a soothing and relaxing environment just by the sound of her voice and her kind demeanor,” said Richland College graphic artist and multimedia adjunct instructor Jennifer Curtiss. “You walk in with a stressed back and shoulders, and you walk out serene with a light spring in your step, feeling as if some weight has been lifted in just an hour.”

Hanson also benefits from these sessions. “It makes me happy to help others, especially when the results are so immediate,” she said. “I’m thrilled to have a job that allows me to share my skills to improve lives.”

Hanson received her yoga teacher certification just after 9/11. “I was living in New York at the time and used yoga as a way to create a buffer zone between me and the horror that surrounded me,” Hanson said. “Yoga is emotional first aid, but it’s also a way of life.”

Continuously committed to its college mission of “teaching, learning and community building,” this holiday season, Richland College is showcasing some of the amazing ways Richland College faculty, students and staff are giving back to the community through volunteering with local nonprofits or helping others who might need a hand. We look forward to sharing these stories with you.


Richland College Student Offers Friendship and Good Cheer to Seniors at Local Hospice

Rebekah Land sitting with her back against a treeThere’s no question that Richland College student Rebekah Land is dedicated to her studies and getting to work on time. But lately, some special senior citizens have been bringing out another side of her personality and helping her grow as a person.

Land, who will graduate from Richland College with her associate degree in business math and science in May, has been volunteering throughout the past semester with Angel Care Hospice at Wellington Assisted Living in Richardson.

“I’m usually a run-around, study harder, get to work on time, never hang out, sometimes make-time-for-a-book kind of person,” said Land. “I’m a very driven perfectionist and a workaholic 19-year-old. Angel Care Hospice has helped me continue to develop my softer side, which usually gets shoved in a corner.”

Land has always had a soft spot where the elderly are concerned and previously volunteered at a nursing home. She connected with Angel Care Hospice after finding the organization through Richland College’s Service Learning program, and it has been a great fit for both her and the patients.

Service learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility and strengthen communities.

Brenda Patton, director of nursing and volunteer coordinator at Angel Care Hospice, said Land’s work has been incredibly appreciated by the patients.

“What an incredible young lady,” said Patton. “Patients will light up when they hear she is coming. They just love seeing her.”

As a companion services volunteer, Land spends time with the patients. She helps them with small tasks such as getting ready or getting items if necessary, but her primary task is to simply talk to residents and socialize. Land sometimes reads to patients, and she has also wheeled an Alzheimer’s patient around in a wheelchair.

“Often, the most important thing I can do is talk with them and give them my friendship,” said Land. “Spending time with someone who is all cooped up and in their last stage of life adds more value to their day than one can imagine.”

Patton agrees. “They get so lonely, so sometimes just carrying on a regular conversation can help so much,” she said.

Upon graduation from Richland College, Land plans on attending either Southern Methodist University or the University of North Texas in the fall. Eventually, she hopes to be an accountant. Meanwhile, Land will continue her studies at Richland College and look forward to another semester volunteering with Angel Care Hospice.

“Feeling love jump out of your heart and into someone else’s, even when they barely know you, is something I can’t get enough of,” said Land.

Angel Care Hospice is always looking for additional volunteers to provide companionship for its patients. Anyone interested in volunteering can call the hospice at 972-301-5600.

Continuously committed to its college mission of “teaching, learning and community building,” this holiday season, Richland College is showcasing some of the amazing ways Richland College faculty, students and staff are giving back to the community through volunteering with local nonprofits or helping others who might need a hand. We look forward to sharing these stories with you.


Richland College Goes to the Dogs as Faculty Member Hosts Dog Food Drive to Benefit Local Animal Shelter

Sarah Daniel holds dog foodFor Richland College management faculty member Sarah Daniel, cold noses and wagging tails are some of life’s greatest joys.

“My fiancé and I are the proud owners of two rescue dogs, Steeler and Doby,” Daniel said. “Doby was actually found rolling down the street stuffed in a barrel! We have a huge soft spot for dogs, especially abused and abandoned dogs.”

A long-time volunteer for various animal rescue organizations in Texas, Daniel knows many animal shelters are in need of food donations this holiday season. With that in mind she decided to start a holiday dog food drive, the first of what she hopes will become an annual tradition for her.

The dog food that Daniel receives will benefit Texas Best Choices Animal Rescue, a small 501c(3) nonprofit organization located in Quinlan, TX.

“We are in serious need of both wet and dry dog food,” Daniel said. “We are also in serious need of puppy chow, but we will welcome anything as long as it is sealed and has never been opened. In addition to dog food, the shelter would also welcome unopened treats. These dogs don’t get treats that often due to financial constraints.”

Daniel volunteers for Texas Best Animal Rescue by assisting with fundraising.

“This is the first big event I am heading up for them, and I’m really excited about it,” said Daniel. “And in addition to the dog food drive, we will be selling T-shirts for the holiday season.”

Best Choices Animal Rescue also welcomes donations of gently used dog items such as bedding, blankets, leashes and collars, though their most immediate need is providing food for the more than 70 dogs that are currently waiting for homes on the rescue’s 22 acres of land.

“If anyone is looking to adopt a dog for the holidays, let me know!” Daniel exclaimed. “There are some wonderful dogs at the shelter who would make a great addition to any family.”

Anyone interested in making a donation can drop it off at Daniel’s Richland College office, located in room B225 of Bonham Hall. Richland College is located at 12800 Abrams Rd. For questions about donating dog food, contact Daniel at sdaniel@dcccd.edu.

For more information on Texas Best Animal Rescue, visit www.tbcanimalrescue.com.

Continuously committed to its college mission of “teaching, learning and community building,” this holiday season, Richland College is showcasing some of the amazing ways Richland College faculty, students and staff are giving back to the community through volunteering with local nonprofits or helping others who might need a hand. We look forward to sharing these stories with you.