VOICES serves the San Antonio community

VOICES members volunteer all over the city.

Laura Thevaos, Staff Writer

The UTSA Volunteer Organization Including Community, Education, and Service, better known as VOICES, has been on campus since 1993. They focus on serving the San Antonio community and other nearby communities using food drives, outreaches and fundraisers to help disadvantaged groups and to reach out to the community. VOICES also partners with other nonprofits and organizations in the San Antonio area. 

Ethan Guerrero, president of VOICES, first got involved with the organization when he was a freshman at UTSA.  

“Honestly, my freshman year I was one of those kids that would go home, do homework and not really interact with anyone,” Guerrero said. “I was just not wanting to talk to anyone.” 

Despite how his year started, Guerrero decided that for his life to change, he was going to be the one responsible to take steps to get involved and build relationships. He attended his first VOICES meeting four years ago and soon got deeply involved with their mission. That first month, he became the student volunteer of the month. Since joining VOICES, he was in the position of special events coordinator before becoming the organization’s president. 

Guerrero further explained the extensive list of opportunities VOICES provides for different outreaches.

“We do a variety of things,” Guerrero said. “We help at animal shelters and that’s a favorite thing for me honestly, since I love dogs. We also go to the San Antonio state hospitals, to help the elderly or just to help children that need it. We help those who struggle with disabilities, whether they’re wheelchair-bound or they struggle mentally or physically.” 

One of Guerrero’s favorite outreach events that VOICES participated in was Camp Summit in Paradise, Texas. The participants range in age from six to 99 years old. It is a camp for those with special needs, ranging from individuals in wheelchairs or those on the autism spectrum. The camp website states that they focus on their campers’ abilities, rather than their disabilities and all activities are adapted so that everyone can participate. 

 “They have all kinds of activities and games for the campers,” Guerrero said. “It is a greatly rewarding experience as you get to work with all kinds of people of different ages.”

 Another of Guerrero’s favorite outreaches was in partnership with ROSIES, a women’s organization at UTSA, whose mission is to serve women both on and off UTSA campus. VOICES partnered with ROSIES to kickstart several donation drives, benefitting St. Vinny’s Bistro. In total, the organization collected 285 hygiene donations. The second drive was for the Texas Diaper Bank and the third was for the San Antonio Food Bank, where almost 585 pounds of donations were collected. There are other organizations who VOICES has partnered with here in San Antonio, such as the San Antonio Food Bank, Free Little Pantry, Animal Care Shelter, Any Baby Can, Peace Pals and many more.  

For students who may want to be more involved, or who are looking for an opportunity to finally get in touch with more organizations, consider volunteering with VOICES. Guerrero mentioned that volunteering is not only central to helping those in need, but is also such a rewarding way of spending your time as a student and as a member of society. 

“With volunteering, and this can be redundant sometimes, you might not see the benefits immediately,” Guerrero said. “But, knowing that you have similar relevancy with other people builds that fire in you and as you volunteer you see the impact it has on other people.” 

There is no entry fee and or application process to get involved if you would like to become a member of VOICES. The organization has events throughout the week and the best way to stay engaged and learn what is going on is through RowdyLink and their social media handles. Interested students can follow the organization on Instagram @UTSAVoices.