April 21, 2003

Emory Gives volunteer effort begins at Dearborn

By Eric Rangus

The volunteer aspect of the University’s charitable giving campaign, EmoryGives, will kick off with a park clean up Saturday morning, April 26. Dearborn Park is located in Decatur about three minutes from campus at the corner of Midway Road and Deerwood Circle, off S. Candler Road.

Earth Share of Georgia, one of EmoryGives charitable partners, is organizing the cleanup, which has been put together with the Emory community in mind.

“This is an event that has been specifically designed for us,” said Michelle Smith, director of corporate giving. “This is not something that is going to be populated by a lot of other people.”

Employee Council is working with EmoryGives in administrating the project, and the contact person for volunteering is council President Cheryl Bowie (404-616-6345 or cheryl@radonc.emory.org).

From 9 a.m.–noon, volunteers will restore the park’s forest and creek, remove trash, plant flowers and shrubbery, remove ivy and undergrowth from the area and create a thicket for wildlife. Breakfast will be provided, but participants are asked to bring drinking water, work gloves, and digging and cutting implements (like spades and hand-clippers), and to wear closed-toed shoes.

Following the project, a thank-you party will take place at the Midtown Borders Bookstore at 650 Ponce de Leon Ave. Each volunteer will receive a gift pack and share in post-cleanup snacks. Smith said she hopes to recruit 25–30 volunteers.

Spring 2002 was the first time the University’s charitable giving campaign included a volunteer component. A wide variety of volunteer opportunities were listed on the campaign’s website, complete with contact information and a list of upcoming projects.

But instead of actively sponsoring volunteer activities, EmoryGives served only as a communicator. There was no way to know, other than anecdotally, if anyone bothered to volunteer. Moving away from that passivity was one of the goals for this year, Smith said.

“While people appreciated the information last year, it didn’t jump start a lot of people to volunteer,” she said. “That’s what we’d like to do and hope to do by focusing on a different volunteer opportunity each month.”

So beginning with this month’s Dearborn Park cleanup and running through August, EmoryGives will highlight a different volunteer opportunity each month.

The next project will be a partnership with Georgia Special Olympics, which will take place on campus May 30–June 1. Volunteers will be needed to help with a variety of competitions including aquatics, gymnastics and track and field.

In June, the focus will be Wesley Woods. Smith hasn’t set a date for the project, but said volunteers will be needed for meal-time assistance, working with the book cart and helping run bingo games, to name a few jobs. Volunteers would have a choice of serving their hour-long shift in the morning, afternoon or evening.

For more information about EmoryGives’ volunteer opportunities, visit www.emory.emorygives.edu.