Hundreds of students in blue “Live United” T-shirts fanned out across Calhoun County on Friday to get a taste of volunteerism and make an immediate impact in the process.
United Way’s 10th annual Youth Day of Caring engaged nearly 400 area teenagers from 10 schools and organizations. They gathered at Full Blast in Battle Creek for a bit of instruction and inspiration from UWBCKR board member Gabriel Giron before deploying to 24 volunteer sites.
“We want students to experience what it’s like to give of themselves and of their time, with the long-term goal of sparking a passion for volunteerism that lasts a lifetime,” said Associate Director of Community Resources Jamie Rugg.
Students came from private, public and alternative education environments, and had a chance to build relationships with peers from other schools as they worked. Battle Creek Central, Calhoun Area Career Center, Calhoun County Community H.S., Harper Creek, Lakeview, Pennfield, St. Philip, VOCES, Battle Creek Community Foundation’s Youth Alliance Committee and WK Kellogg Preparatory School were this year’s participating groups.
“It’s awesome that United Way can help facilitate these opportunities for people,” said Danielle Chauvin, Volunteer Coordinator at S.A.F.E. Place. She worked with a group of students that painted bedrooms and organized a storage area.
Other projects included cleaning shoes at Operation Christmas Child; running Casino Day at Calhoun County Medical Care Facility; washing cars at Haven of Rest; bagging food at Food Bank of South Central Michigan; sorting clothing at Charitable Union; and seasonal clean-up in many locations including Binder Park Zoo, Cheff Center, B.C. Police Memorial, Humane Society and more.
After a few hours of work, students were bused back to Full Blast, where they had lunch and reflected on their experiences with classmates.
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Thank you to all of our participating partner organizations and schools for making Youth Day of Caring such an inspiring tradition in Battle Creek.
Want to make an impact of your own? Let us connect you with a volunteer opportunity that matches your time and talents.