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January Volunteer Articles




 There are some interesting and versatile jobs to be found through Lights Volunteers, but one that has particularly stood out is the work being conducted by Don Rima: working with bugs. When asked what drove him to take on this job he gave the simple reason of, “because it’s fun.”

Rima’s interest in entomology began long ago when he got his first bug in 1st grade while living in Hopwell, Virginia. It was a cicada killer, which he kept for years. His father, also an avid bug collector, at one time had his collection on display in the Kulaqua Nature Center (Florida Conference), but sadly, the center burned down in 1986 and the collection was destroyed.


Rima works with Dr. Keith Snyder, chair of the Biology department in the Hickman Science Center, and his main job requires collecting specimens, labeling them, and replacing those that are old or damaged.
The collaboration initially started when Rima was working with Stan Beasley at Collegedale Academy on a seed collection project. Rima then suggested that CA and the University share their assets to build a bigger collection. This led him to Dr. Snyder and his insects in Hickman.

When asked what his favorite aspect of the work is, he said, “It’s a lot of fun! And, I learn a lot while helping.” Rima also interacts with students while volunteering and once sat in on an entomology class he was invited to help with which “worked for both of us,” he said. “My guess is that I learned more than I helped the kids with, but all around it was a lot of fun.”

Rima says he will continue volunteering at Southern as long as he can see he’s making a positive contribution to the organization in his own little corner in the back room of the biology department.






Bruno Martins became a Lights Volunteer last June and has since gravitated towards a job in the program which suits him perfectly: personal training. Before moving to the United States from Portugal, Bruno gathered 12 years of personal training experience and wanted to share that expertise here.

While waiting for his visa and green card to be processed, he realized he wanted to do something beneficial for the community and the university during his free time. He heard about Lights Volunteers and immediately realized it was the perfect way to wait.

Martins is currently auditing a Southern class which will allow him to reach his goal of getting American certification as a personal trainer which, in turn, will allow him to continue working in the U. S. in the area of his passion—fitness and health. Because the personal training class requires him to have “clients”, he is able to provide his expertise to various faculty and staff members on campus who have enlisted for the opportunity. The class, as well as his desire to be productive, has made Martins a wonderful candidate to volunteer at Southern.

Martins says moving the area, especially after living in other places (mainly Portugal, as well as France and Switzerland), is such a change from his past. “It’s wonderful to not have to worry about people asking you to work on the Sabbath. I love being surrounded with people who share similar beliefs.”                       



VOLUNTEER CONNECTIONS: Christmas Tree Lighting at Taylor Circle

Every year Southern hosts what is historically known as “Christmas on the Promenade”; however, this year some innovative changes were made with a more spiritual emphasis, and the event became “The Christmas Tree Lighting at Taylor Circle”. Several musical groups and singers were represented in the festivities preceding the lighting of the Christmas tree.

This event brings many people from the community as well as a majority of Southern’s students. Lights Volunteers have been contributing to this event for the past several years by bagging donut holes as part of the refreshments given to the event’s attendees. This year saw a record 9800 of these treats bagged. Late Monday morning University food service baker, Terry Evans, began concocting the batter from scratch in flavors like, vanilla, chocolate and blueberry—and didn’t stop until he was finished early Tuesday morning. All the donut holes were glazed and ready for our volunteers to bag by 10:00 a.m. for the eating pleasure of students and guests that evening!

Throughout many of Southern’s events one can see numerous ways in which Lights have contributed. The annual Christmas event is just one of a variety of events into which volunteers have put considerable work and dedication. Much of what we experience here on campus is due to their devotion and effort. Whenever you get the chance, take time to thank a volunteer who you see has made a difference. In fact, consider what you might be willing to offer as a Lights Volunteer and contact the Volunteer Coordinator, Leslie Ann Schwarzer at x2555, or email


To view January 2014 Announcements, visit In The Know