From the Special Olympics Fall Games in Seneca Falls to the Finger Lakes Family 5K race in Geneva, this year’s first day in the Days of Service 2009 had HWS students volunteering throughout the Finger Lakes region.
On Saturday, Oct. 3, more than 140 students, faculty and staff flocked to various local sites to assist initiatives, such as Trinity Church, where HWS students have been volunteered consistently for more than a decade.
Other students, such as Rory Sasson ’10, worked with Sarah Meyer, Finger Lakes Institute Community Outreach Coordinator, at the Seneca Lake Beach Cleanup.
“I think it’s good to give back to the community,” said Sasson.
“It always feels good looking at these bags of trash,” said Steven Sweeney ’10, who, with Sasson, Meyer and a team of 35 volunteers, collected 205 lbs. of debris along two miles of shoreline, removing everything from aluminum cans to tires.
At the Special Olympics New York State Fall Games, students worked positions across the board, from traffic directors during the 5K bike race to encouragers, cheering the athletes along the sideline to the finish line.
Neal Johnson, CEO and President of the New York Special Olympics, said that HWS and other local colleges always turn out lots of volunteers for the Special Olympics. “It offers students an opportunity to do something for the community and do it with their friends. They’re a critical asset,” Johnson said.
Other Day of Service events on Saturday included the Literacy Fest in Seneca Falls; the Finger Lakes Family 5K, a “fun run” to benefit the Community Center and Family Counseling Service of the Finger Lakes; trail maintenance on the Ontario Pathways and the Cayuga -Seneca Trailway; and apple-picking and pie-baking for the Geneva Community Lunch Program with HWS Chaplain Lesley Adams, a tasty venture that first began in the mid-90s and this year, for the first time, became a Days of Service activity.
Not only did volunteers properly learn to roll out pie crust, they now have the satisfaction of knowing their delectable endeavor was enjoyed by members of the Geneva community.
“I went apple picking in college and thought it would be a fun service project for students here,” said Adams, who, with the student volunteers, baked two dozen pies. Students picked so many apples this year that the extras were used for applesauce.
Rachel Ferry ’12 missed last year’s Days of Service and decided to give back this year by helping bake pies. “I felt like I missed out on a great experience last year,” she said, “but I’m having so much fun here this year. I’ll definitely volunteer again next year.”
Belinda Littlefield ’11, co-chair of the Days of Service committee, says she got involved with Days of Service because she wanted “to engender more positive relations with the Geneva community to emphasize that HWS students care about the community in which we all live.”
Littlefield and co-chair Brandon Lawson ’11 both served on the Days of Service committee last semester and participated in the event as first-years.
“When I was given the opportunity to become co-chair,” Lawson said, “I was excited to be able to bring a new perspective to the event and oversee fellow students working to help others.”
Littlefield added: “We are both honored and excited to be such a big part of keeping this tradition alive with support from the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning.”
The next Day of Service will be held on Sunday, Nov. 8. For those interested in participating, or in joining the Days of Service planning committee, stop by the Creedon Room in Scandling Campus Center on Mondays and Thursdays at 7 p.m., or contact Belinda Littlefield or Brandon Lawson for more information.