September 28, 2009

Seventh Annual Case for Community Day Reflections

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Some of the volunteers who signed up for the Seventh Annual Case for Community Day were new to the initiative. Others had participated every year since its inception.

But those both new and experienced with the university-wide day of community service seemed eager to reach out and connect with neighbors and organizations in need.

President Barbara R. Snyder thanked the volunteers gathered for lunch before they headed out to 60 project sites for making the Seventh Annual Case for Community Day the most successful yet. A new record was set for filling volunteer positions in less than a week.

She added that this enthusiasm is what makes Case Western Reserve University known as a community that cares.

"This is cool," said Tom Seitz, vice president of strategic alliances at The Sherwin-Williams Co., when he saw volunteers at the RePlay for Kids site in Thwing Center. Volunteers there were adapting toys for children with disabilities. Seitz saw a special demonstration of how a battery-operated hand switch was converted to a puff switch.

He went on to say that Sherwin-Williams has a 143-year history in the community and cares for the community as its family. Sherwin-Williams contributed paint for several Case for Community Day volunteer sites.

Homeowner Lawrence Drummer watched a corps of volunteers put the finishing touches on the trim to the E. 108th Street house he has called home for 33 years. The painting and landscaping project was made possible through generous donations from several community groups like Sherwin Williams, Casey Construction, Case Western Reserve University and Famicos, a nonprofit housing organization. "I’m blessed,” Drummer said. “I appreciate the effort that went into this volunteer day.”

Drummer was only able to paint his house once before and has had concerns about his property. "I'm glad this has happened."

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Campus volunteers also went to sites like the Ashbury Senior Community Computer Center ,where senior citizens got a helping hand from campus information technology area volunteers to learn how to access information on computers, work digital cameras, and other technologies like cell phones.

City of Cleveland Councilman Kevin Conwell, Ward 9, told approximately 30 seniors taking classes at the center, “If we are going to move forward, we need to know how to use technology.” He said the new skills would help them in everything from applying for jobs and starting businesses to communicating with people around the world.

Reflections from volunteers before and after Case for Community Day:
  • Jill Grauel coordinated a food drive in the Department of Human Resources. She brought over several bags of food for the Cleveland Foodbank donation drive shortly after Case for Community Day began. "I've done this for my local food pantry. This is a good way to give back."
  • Kathy Hanning, an administrative assistant with the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, volunteered to roll pennies and write notes of encouragement for the Pennies for Peace project. "After hearing Greg Mortensen I felt this project was heaven sent." Hanning has volunteered for the university-wide day of service since the program's inception.
  • Vijay Kumar and Derek Veith, postdoctoral researchers in the Yee and van den Akker biochemistry labs, were both new to Case for Community Day. They signed up with their entire lab group to do maintenance work and painting for the Cleveland Sight Center. "We would have done any project but we really wanted to work as a group," Kumar said.
  • An estimated 200 representatives from the 19 varsity sports teams at Case Western Reserve welcomed 250 children from Michael R. White, Oxford, Buckeye-Woodland, Daniel E. Morgan and Mary E. Bethune schools for a sports clinic.
  • Laura Ansley, C.J. Dunlap and Bradley Fritz, all fourth-year students, volunteered for the RePlay for Kids project. "We do this several times a year," Ansley said of the toy-adaptation workshop.
  • Alexis Melville and Rachel Tuttle, both of Housing, Residence Life and Greek Life, did some weeding and other landscaping at United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cleveland. Melville has been with the university for less than a year, so this was her first time participating in Case for Community Day, while this was Tuttle's second time giving back to the community during the annual service day. They spent four hours at the site, and said they enjoyed the project. "We felt appreciated," Tuttle said.
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  • Organizers of the E-Cycling drive reported that the Case Western Reserve community brought in enough older computers, monitors, cell phones and other electronics to almost fill up an entire truck. The donations will go to local schools and nonprofit agencies.
  • Tracie Cloud, events manager at The Alcazar, sent a note of appreciation. "Thank you for adding The Alcazar to the Case Western Community Service Day. The six volunteers were eager, pleasant and hard working. Before the task was complete, residents were thankful and complimenting their work. It looks professionally done and beautiful, adding to the majestic architecture. We are thankful and appreciate your thoughtfulness and the work of the volunteers."
  • Andrew T. Chakalis, president of the Hellenic Preservation Society and Greek Cultural Garden Delegate, also expressed his gratitude. "The students that participated accomplished the following: Much needed weeding, pruning of bushes, cutting over 2,500 day lilies and the re-edging of the planting borders on our west slope. Our community garden volunteers hope that the work assignments that they planned were meaningful to your volunteers. And hope that the students found it of benefit to become familiar with and participate in the maintenance of this historic landmark. We found each of the students to be delightful and uplifting. We were very impressed with the maturity and sensitivity they conveyed. This reflects favorably on your institution."

For more information contact Susan Griffith, 216.368.1004.

For more information contact Kimyette Finley, 216.368.0521.

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, September 28, 2009 11:38 AM | News Topics: Alumni, Community Outreach, Events, Faculty, Staff, Students, features

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