Guess what I'm doing today? Not going to class! Don't worry though, I'm not skipping :) I'm doing some community service, and not because I did something bad. Every second Thursday in September, Union College cancels classes for the day to give students an opportunity to make a difference in the community. It's called Project Impact, and we volunteer to help local service organizations by tackling tasks such as painting, organizing, building, filing, gardening, deep cleaning, serving meals, and other projects normal staff don't have time to accomplish.
Last year was my first year of participating and I'm so excited to do so again today! Because Project Impact is completely student led and organized, different students sign up to be site leaders. I was a site leader last year for Antelope Creek, and we walked along the park and creek picking up trash. It may sound a little boring, but it was lots of fun to walk and talk with friends and find random things on the ground! This year I'm a site leader for the Down's Syndrome Association for Families. I don't know all the details of what we're working on but I'm pretty sure it includes making bracelets for the children. I'll post all about what goes on today, tomorrow (with pictures!).
If you want to learn more about Project Impact, here's a few more details about how it started:
- Project Impact started in 1981 as Project Brush - an initiative to pain homes for elderly and disabled residents in Lincoln. Since then, it has grown to focus on helping organizations that serve the community. This year is the 33rd Project Impact!
- The college cancels classes and about 80% of the campus population, which is usually more than 800 students and faculty, participate each year. I have some professors that are in their second decade of participating!
- Project Impact seeks to plant the seed of service in each student and teach them to become an active part of the community. It is a launching point for student ministries that last all year long.
- Over 33 years, an estimated 20,000 volunteers have contributed more than 120,000 volunteer hours to more than 75 local agencies.
- Project Impact is the longest running college or university community service day in the nation.
That's me in the middle and my roommate and Caleb next to me.
I really believe that volunteering your time and energy back into your own community is really rewarding. It brings people together and strengthens the community around you. You make a difference, even if all you do is file papers. Because someone would have had to file those papers instead of doing what their job really requires of them. You just saved them time and helped improve the efficiency and organization of the business. So there is no such thing as a volunteer job that is too small. Go out and serve!
If you really want to know more about what we do for Project Impact (and see all the fun we have) here's a video of last's year community service day.
Skip ahead to 8:12 if you want to see what happened when the day was over! ;) #colorwar
And be sure to check back tomorrow to see some pictures I've taken of today!
Where do you volunteer?