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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

    Caught in the ACT

    <h as I yearn for winter break all term long, I always find myself missing Carleton within the first two weeks. My job is only interesting for a few days, “doing nothing” on the weekends soon gets old, and before long I am counting down the days until I can come back here. One way I’ve found to spice up my break is to get involved with an organization I care about. It is exciting to be surrounded by people who care about the same causes I do and refreshing to interact with volunteers of all ages, not just college kids.

    Around the holidays, many elementary schools and senior centers have special events. If you call up a nearby nursing home or your local school system, chances are they will be thrilled to get another volunteer. Similarly, many food shelves receive increased donations and experience increased demand this time of year and would appreciate extra hands around the warehouse. To find more volunteer opportunities in your area, check out You can search specifically for opportunities that address issues that interest you. I am always surprised at the variety of organizations and tasks that I find.

    If you are staying at Carleton over winter break, you will need some soul-warming activities to pass the cold evenings and weekends. ACT programs take a break during the vacation, but our partner organizations in Northfield don’t. The Northfield Community Action Center (CAC) runs several important programs including the Clothes Closet and Food Shelf as well as Thursday’s Table, a hot meal service for families in need. If you want to use your Spanish, computer skills, or other talents, chances are the CAC can suggest something for you, too. To contact the CAC, call (507) 664-3550 or go online to

    So after your wonderful volunteer experiences over winter break, what next? Come volunteer at Carleton! The ACT Center has 35 on-going volunteer programs about a wide range of issues. And if you don’t have time to make a weekly or monthly commitment, you can still get involved with our one-time events. Early winter term we will have an open house with great food and fun activities. It’s the perfect opportunity to learn more about volunteering in Northfield, so look for more information regarding the open house in January. Until then, have a wonderful vacation!

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