The Richter Center Student Leaders

Service. Community. Integrity. Growth.


The Poverello House

Service gave me a Purpose

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Ever since I was a little girl, I always dreamed of changing the world. However, I never understood how hard it would be to change the world by myself and that no matter how hard I tried to do something, changing the world would be something unrealistic. I started getting involved in community service in middle school and I enjoyed making a difference; the more I served the more I loved it.  I was serving at Poverello House—a community benefit organization that serves meals to those that are homeless and hungry—when I realized the reason why I loved doing service.

During this service experience, I spent two hours cutting tomatoes.  If you think about it, it does not sound like something fun to be doing or something that someone would love. The reason why this helped me realize why I loved doing community service was because I was contributing with a team to make someone’s day better. Someone was going to be able to have a meal for the day. This was the moment when I realized that the little girl’s dream was possible because I did not have to do something big to change the world since by doing small acts I was changing.  Doing community service does not mean you have to do something extravagant to make it great and worth it because the power of volunteering has to do with making a difference. The difference is not only for the place or person you are doing your service for, the difference is also for you. Through community service you grow as a person, and perhaps service could give you a purpose like it did for me. Remember sometimes the smallest acts, to us, mean life changing experience to others.

Now that you know my story and why I love service, what does service mean to you? How has community service impacted your life or someone’s life?

– Ambassador Jazmin De La Torre

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The Poverello House: Touching lives since 1973

Volunteers at the Poverello House prepare food for those in need of a warm meal. Photo credit:

For the last 39 years, Poverello House, a nonprofit organization in the San Joaquin Valley, has been helping those in need.  When people don’t have a place to sleep, Poverello House is there for them with shelter.  When people do not have a bite to eat, Poverello House is there for them with a warm meal. The services offered there are for all people from different walks in life. On a daily basis, the organization touches the lives of the homeless in the Valley, women and children in need, the elderly, and also migrant farmworkers. Before I spoke to them at last semester’s volunteer fair, I didn’t know that this organization, located at 412 F Street, is more than just a soup home.

Other than providing warm meals, they provide people with shelter at all of their three facilities: Naomi’s House, a facility proving overnight shelter for single childless women, and the Michael McGarvin Jr. Village of Hope and Community of Hope, which provide people with an opportunity to better themselves by allowing them longer stays, not just overnight shelter.  Other services they provide to people are substance abuse rehabilitation programs, as well as both individual and group counseling. They also have a clinic on site that provides free medical and dental services. As I was looking at their website I thought it was really cool how they even have a Homeless Court. This Homeless Court is for those individuals who are in a rehabilitation programs and want to fix any problems they may have had with the authorities.

Volunteers donate their time at the Poverello House in Fresno. Photo credit:

As is with all nonprofit organizations, most of the work done at the Poverello House is by volunteers.  So if you are ever looking for a place to volunteer or make a change in someone’s life, Poverello House welcomes anyone with a giving heart.

– Ambassador Paulina

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