The first Day of Service of the 2010-2011 academic year kicked off this past weekend with more than 230 student volunteers, who were ready to lend a hand.
“I’ve been doing community service since I was six,” said Sasha Miller ’11. Now in her senior year, Miller has attended every Day of Service organized by the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning. “I love it; it’s a big part of who I am.”
“Geneva has been a phenomenal host to HWS for two centuries,” remarked President Mark D. Gearan before students set off for sites across Geneva and Canandaigua. “The difference you make will be obvious. Every ripple of hope will have an impact on the Geneva community.”
Students volunteered at a number of sites, serving a broad spectrum of the community. Volunteer opportunities included trips to the Granger Homestead and Sonnenberg Gardens, where students worked on preparing the grounds for winter. Other locations included the Geneva Community Center and in the Geneva Theater Guild’s costume and prop rooms.
“Last year, students moved our costumes to this new location,” explained Becky Wagner, of the Geneva Community Theater Guild. “This year, they’re unpacking all of them – it kind of brings it full circle. It’s a very long process, and we’re so grateful to have the extra hands.”
Even the younger members of the community lent their time and talents. Members of the Geneva Middle School builders club helped to sand and stain a ga-ga pit at the Geneva Community Center alongside HWS students. The young volunteers proclaimed their love for service, and their hopes to continue this type of work in the future.
“The students who come for the Day of Service are always so wonderful,” said Kathleen Carney ’80, a member of the congregation at Trinity Church on South Main Street, where students raked and gardened outside and painted inside. “This is a huge church, and there is a lot to maintain. Trinity and the Colleges have such a linked history; it’s good to have students come help and continue that relationship.”
As Faith James ’13 cleaned a window at the church, she expressed her regret at having been unable to attend last year. “I think it’s a unique opportunity that few schools offer,” said James. “I talked with my friends, and we all wanted to volunteer. So we signed up together; it’s a lot of fun.”
“You are sending a very important – and a very positive – message,” Jeremy Wattles, assistant director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, told student volunteers. “You are telling the people of Geneva that you value your place in this community.”