Students to participate in Day of Caring

Gannon University students, faculty, staff and alumni will participate in the annual United Way Day of Caring this Saturday, as part of the Erie-GAINS (Erie-Gannon Alliances to Improve Neighborhood Sustainability) project.

Volunteers will report to the Hammermill Center for a short rally at 8 a.m. and after that will be divided into groups. The different groups will then go to various locations across Erie, engaging in community service projects until noon.

Jessie Badach, program coordinator for the Center for Social Concerns, said Day of Caring is an opportunity for the Gannon and Erie communities to come together to offer their services and to grow from a sense of volunteer work as the season for warmer weather arrives.

Badach, who is a staff member in charge of preparing for this year’s event, said Saturday’s event is different from last year’s.

“One thing that’s unique about Day of Caring this year is that all the projects have a greening focus, which is something relevant globally and also locally in our own region,” she said.

Badach said that Day of Caring is a great opportunity to help meet the needs of neighbors and to create a healthier, more green and environmentally friendly community.

Day of Caring will have a variety of projects, Badach said, that includes anything from landscaping to cleaning inside of buildings.

There will be a dozen sites volunteers will be sent to, including Big Backyard SafeNET project, Gridley Park and the Martin Luther King Center.

Badach said hundreds of students have committed their Saturday morning to this event which she said will be bigger than last year’s in terms of the number of participants.

Steph Gottron, who is one of those students, will be participating in Day of Caring for the first time.

The junior social work major said it should be a good experience for her.

Gottron has been involved with a lot of the Erie-GAINS project this year. She said she has volunteered with the Kids Cafe a lot, something she said is really beneficial to the kids.

“It feels good to volunteer there because you can be a positive role model and support for them that they might not get somewhere else.

“Projects like that in Erie-GAINS are really long-term, so it’s hard to see the direct result of your work sometimes,” she said. “But if enough people keep on working for enough time, there is real potential for positive change here.”

JACOB TARR

[email protected]