About 625 Central College students, faculty and staff will participate in almost 65 service projects during the college’s annual Service Day Tuesday, April 10.
Since beginning in 2006, Service Day has become a cornerstone of the Central experience. Volunteers will contribute to projects in Pella, Knoxville, Oskaloosa, Greater Des Moines, Ottumwa, Newton and Otley. Project sites include schools, food banks, churches, community gardens, parks and senior centers.
Organized by the office of community-based learning, this single-day event provides hundreds of hours of service every year, valued at approximately $75,000, says Cheri Doane, director of community-based learning. Central provides transportation to ensure every student can participate.
In Pella, volunteers will help prepare for Tulip Time, spruce up retirement communities, get the Pella Aquatic Center ready for outdoor swimming and pick up trash along Highway 163. Other projects include transplanting native prairie plants at Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge, performing music at GiGi’s Playhouse for individuals with Down Syndrome and transcribing records for a Marion County cemetery and entering them into a database. Several professors will lead students in projects related to their fields. For example, biology students will help restore Iowa’s natural habitat areas for the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation in Des Moines under the tutelage of Russ Benedict, professor of biology.
Central parents, alumni, friends and anyone who would like to participate in service day can R.S.V.P. to the Center for Community-Based Learning at VISTA@central.edu or 641-628-5424.
While Service Day is a milestone event, Central is committed to service-learning throughout the year, Doane says. More than 45 academic courses across 15 departments include semester-long components in service-learning. Many students also complete custom-designed service opportunities, using their unique skills to enhance community partners’ work in specific ways, such as grant writing, research, managing websites and planning events.