At a young age, Alicia Torello’s parents instilled in her the importance of giving back. And while she volunteers selflessly, her commitment to helping others has helped her achieve her own personal goals as well.
In 2013, Alicia applied for a Foresters Competitive Scholarship, and thanks to her strong grade point average and ongoing commitment to community volunteering, she was awarded $2,000 in renewable scholarship funds (up to $8,000) towards her education.
“Volunteer work is important because it humbles you,” says Alicia. “When you’re doing something where you don’t get anything back, it makes you a better person.” This has been true for Alicia throughout her volunteer experiences.
In high school, she taught religion to younger kids, participated in community food drives and acted as a buddy for special needs high school athletes. No matter what the experience, Alicia believes that “whenever you give back to others, you get more out of it than they do.”
Today, Alicia is in her third year at Monmouth University in New Jersey where she majors in communications with a focus in public relations and journalism. But her busy academic schedule hasn’t stopped her from giving back.
She balances school work with her volunteer involvement on the Student Activities Board (SAB), a campus organization with a vision to “foster an environment that cultivates student learning and development through innovative programs, activities and services that promote student success.”
As the SAB Awareness Chair, Alicia helps cultivate a sense of community on campus by organizing events such as an interactive mental health awareness fair that focused on key issues faced by students such as stress and anxiety; a ‘Love Yourself’ campaign to promote positive, healthy body image; and community minded initiatives including an event to raise awareness about ocean pollution and empowered students to take action by volunteering at a beach cleanup.
With each event, Alicia is helping to make a difference in her campus community and the lives of all students at Monmouth.
“Connecting with friends and the community makes everything easier and more comfortable,” says Alicia. “Students often tell me how the events I organize on campus make a real and meaningful difference in their lives by making them feel more comfortable on campus.”
By the time she graduates, Alicia will have four years of event planning experience under her belt all because of her volunteerism in the community and through SAB. “Sometimes I find that I’m learning more outside than inside the classroom,” she says. “At this point, I’ll never stop volunteering!”