Volunteers to Aid City Groups on Yale Community Service Day

Members of the Yale community will mobilize to clean up the trails of a local park, beautify the grounds or interiors of a number of New Haven social service agencies, and pass out free books to local families as part of the first Yale Community Service Day on Saturday, April 24.

Community Service Day will kick off Saturday morning with a breakfast at 9 a.m. on Yale’s Beinecke Plaza. Projects will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Teams of up to 20 Yale volunteers will be assigned to a range of service projects throughout New Haven. Transportation will be provided to and from campus to the community service locations.

The undergraduate Yale College Council (YCC) is hosting the event with sponsorship from John E. Pepper, the University’s vice president for finance and administration. Partnering with the YCC is the Office of New Haven and State Affairs, the McDougal Graduate Student Center, Alpha Phi Omega (a co-ed service fraternity),Dwight Hall at Yale and the United Way of Greater New Haven.

“Volunteering with a team from Yale will be a fun way to get to know colleagues and students, and a few hours of your time will make a real difference to the community,” wrote Pepper in a letter inviting the participation of all Yale students and staff. He noted that this inaugural event “has the potential of creating a lasting partnership with a number of local service organizations.”

Yale participants will help with the following projects:

* New Haven Reads, 252 Park St. – Up to 15 volunteers will help the book bank distribute books to New Haven youths and their families.

* Eli Whitney Museum, 915 Whitney Ave. – Up to 30 volunteers will assemble boat kits for use in the museum’s spring and summer youth programs. Museum apprentices will help with such tasks as drilling and sanding.

* East Rock State Park, East Rock Rd. – Up to 100 volunteers will help clean up the park by clearing trails in anticipation of summer use. Materials will be provided.

* Christian Community Action, 168 Davenport Ave. – Up to 15 volunteers will refurbish and paint the building, a facility that provides emergency and transitional housing, food and other support to homeless families in New Haven.

* The Connection Inc., corner of Chapel and Howe streets – Up to 30 volunteers will refurbish a facility that provides at-risk youth with a positive environment.

* Fellowship Place, 441 Elm St. – About 10 volunteers will help with the facility’s spring clean-up and grounds renewal effort, involving both gardening and planting.

Volunteers will also assist with projects for Read to Grow, an initiative that partners with community organizations to provide programs supporting literacy development, and the Regional Housing Rehabilitation Institute of Connecticut, an Elm City-based home construction project.

Nirumpam Sinha, vice president of the YCC, and Christopher Wells, chair of the YCC Community Committee, are organizing the volunteers and service projects.

Also on Community Service Day, Yale’s graduate and professional students will hold a Field Day to benefit Columbus House. The Field Day events will be held on Cross Campus from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The purpose of Field Day is to bring together the Yale Graduate and Professional Student Community and the New Haven Community in support of a common goal: assisting the homeless in New Haven through support of the work of Columbus House. Through sponsor donations and entry fees from the participating student groups, organizers hope to generate substantial support and awareness of the work of Columbus House, a non-profit organization whose mission is “To serve people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless by providing shelter and housing and by fostering their personal growth and independence.”

April 23-25 is also the Weekend of Interfaith Youth Service at Yale, and will bring together religiously diverse Yale students to serve the New Haven community in a number of ways and at a number of locations.

Complete information about Yale’s Community Service Day is available at: http://www.yale.edu/opa/campus/service

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Media Contact

Tom Conroy: tom.conroy@yale.edu, 203-432-1345