Volunteer Spotlight: Orange Jackets

Posted November 10, 2016

Volunteer Spotlight: Orange Jackets

The Settlement Home has partnered with Texas Orange Jackets for many years. They volunteer with our kiddos in many capacities. Read on to find out about the work they do with us. 

SH: Tell us about Orange Jackets.  
OJ: Texas Orange Jackets (OJs) is the oldest women’s honorary service organization at the University of Texas. OJs are recognized as distinguished leaders on the UT campus and honored as the “official hosts” of the university. The core tenets of the organization are excellence in service, leadership, and scholarship. Since inception in 1923, OJs have actively served both UT and the greater Austin community. Members of Orange Jackets are easily recognized at campus events and on the field at football games by their burnt orange vests emblazoned with a white “T” on the side pocket. 
SH: Why is volunteering important to Orange Jackets? 
OJ: As an honorary women’s service organization, volunteering is at the heart of much of what we do in Texas Orange Jackets. Working for the betterment of others is a way for us to give back to our community and become active members of our society. Our motto is “For Texas I Will” and we aim to live that out by performing mindful service that allows us to help others and improve our society. The Settlement Home is our primary philanthropy and by spending time with the girls we are able to have a direct impact in their lives, whether it is by spending time with them or encouraging them to fulfill their goals. Through service to our university, our community, and to our peers, we are able to serve compassionately, critically, and cohesively. 

SH: Describe the projects you work on with The Home.
OJ: OJs participates in a variety of workshops and activities with the girls at Settlement Home. Some of our recent activities include gardening, yoga, rock climbing and canoeing. All of our activities pursue the goal of engaging their girls and serving as positive role models. We also love supporting Settlement Home administrative staff with their annual Garage Sale. 
SH:What kind of impact does volunteering have on your members?
OJ: The service experiences we have in OJs are truly transformative and have helped shape us into more compassionate and civic-minded leaders. The individuals we work with are incredible and volunteering has led us to be more humble, grateful, and kind. By working in different communities, we have learned to be allies and advocates for groups we may not necessarily identify with as well as more open-minded. Engaging meaningfully and thinking critically about what we are doing allows us to understand more of the societal issues that underly the service we perform. Through volunteering we have been able to learn that even as college students, we can have a very real and meaningful impact on others and that serves as an inspiration for us to continue to work towards improving the world we live in. 

SH: What kind of impact do you hope that your group can make on our kids?
OJ: When volunteering at the Settlement Home and spending time with the children there, we try to leave a lasting impact on them and encourage them to realize that they can achieve their goals. Our organization mainly works with the young women at the home, and our goal is to help empower them and serve as examples of women who have gone on to college. The kids are incredibly dynamic, insightful, and courageous and we hope that by spending time with them and getting to know them we can serve as role models and inspire them.