Ten Years, Thousands Served

Volunteers out in force for Emory Cares

By Michelle Valigursky

Candid photo of three women wearing hair coverings, aprons, and Emory Cares t-shirts

Emory Cares: Volunteers package food for the nonprofit Meals on Wheels.

Tom Brodnax 65Ox 68C

For teenagers in the Emory area, Get Grounded Teen Studio has become a haven to study, socialize, play music and games, and enrich their spirits and minds with yoga classes and seminars. As one of this year’s Emory Cares projects on Emory Cares International Service Day November 10, Emory volunteers will work to gather books and improve the center’s facilities while mentoring the program’s teens who work alongside them.

Angie Waddell 90OX 92C founded Get Grounded in 2009. She looks forward to joining forces with Emory volunteers.

A decade ago, then-Emory Alumni Board President Renelda Mack 83C envisioned just such an Emory community service effort. “Emory Cares and Emory Cares Everywhere provide a wide variety of service projects,” she says. “Together, we help meet the needs of others, alleviate pain, improve the environment, and more importantly, spread hope.”

Thanks to a team effort, her initial vision has come to fruition. In 2011 alone, eighty-one official service projects took place in forty cities around the globe. To date, the total number of community organizations served stands at 118, while the total number of volunteer participants reaches nearly nine thousand.

“No matter how old you are, no matter where you live in the world, you, your loved ones, and colleagues may continue to participate in Emory Cares projects forever,” says Allison Dykes, vice president of alumni relations for the Emory Alumni Association (EAA).

“We could not be more proud to carry on the legacy begun by alumna Renelda Mack,” says program coordinator Venus Miller. “Every year, Emory Cares and Emory Cares Everywhere continue to grow, and the lives our efforts touch continue to multiply.”

Alumni volunteer service project coordinators in the US and abroad are identified to coordinate service projects in their cities with guidance and assistance from the EAA.

“We invite all alumni, parents, and friends to register online for one of our Emory Cares projects,” Miller says. “For those cities in which a project isn’t organized, independent charitable efforts are recognized through Emory Cares Everywhere.”

Today, Emory Cares Day also is a collaboration between the EAA and Volunteer Emory.

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