Ruiz volunteered to help out with the Boston Living Center's signature Thanksgiving Gala, helping people living with HIV/AIDS to celebrate life.
“After the event, I felt happy that I could supply some form of help to an organization that has provided endless amounts of support to such a vulnerable community of people,” says Ruiz.
Since that Thanksgiving early in her college experience, Ruiz, now a senior studying Sociology, has continued to reach out and help others. She says that growing up in Boston has given her insight into the community issues that she works for today.
During Suffolk’s Annual Service Day, Jenny volunteered with Casa Nueva Vida, or “House of New Life” in Jamaica Plain. There she supported the organization’s mission of helping struggling families go through the process of removing themselves from poverty permanently.
Ruiz also is involved in other programs organized through the S.O.U.L.S. Center for Community Engagement, including Connections to College, which encourages inner-city youth to prepare for college, and the weekly Prison Book program. She also is treasurer of the Suffolk University Hispanic Association.
“Students should definitely find ways to be more involved, not just through S.O.U.L.S., but within their local communities,” says Ruiz. “Community service broadens your understanding of social issues and serves as a way for students to play small roles in big changes.”