More than 550 members of the Kennesaw State University (KSU) community spent a few hours last month volunteering as part of the ninth annual Day of Service. Volunteers visited 27 work sites across metro Atlanta to help schools, nonprofits and other organizations with a variety of projects.
The Office of Economic Development and Community Engagement founded the Day of Service in 2014 in conjunction with the student arm of the Department of Student Volunteerism and Service, pairing hundreds of students, faculty, staff and community members with work projects at schools, parks, nonprofit organizations and other community sites.
This year’s event featured several high-water marks, including the most registrations and most sites served.
“This event has grown in participants and sites served each year, which is a testament to our dedication to our community,” said Kimberly Henghold, director of community engagement. “This annual volunteer event is an outstanding example of our students’ commitment to strengthening and fostering the partnerships within our community.”
Each Day of Service event represents the culmination of a year’s worth of planning by a committee of representatives from throughout the university, co-chaired this year by Henghold and William Hargrove, assistant director of the Department of Student Volunteerism and Service.
“It was absolutely thrilling seeing so many volunteers come together to support our community, and the feedback from our nonprofit community partners has been resoundingly positive,” Hargrove said. “Our team works diligently to manage these partnerships year-round, and it was a real treat seeing these relationships come to life.”
Volunteers started the day by gathering on the Kennesaw and Marietta campuses. President Kathy Schwaig welcomed volunteers on the Kennesaw campus green, while Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Ronald Briggs greeted those on the Marietta campus.
Participants included faculty, staff, students, alumni, community members and Team Depot, a volunteer force of Home Depot employees. Team Depot accounted for 35 volunteers and provided funding and supplies at Northwest Classical Academy (NCA), a tuition-free public charter school in Kennesaw.
Projects at NCA included beautification efforts, such as landscaping, in addition to assembling outdoor benches for the campus.
“The impact that our volunteers made today allowed our local nonprofits to continue to fulfill their mission by providing the services that are needed for our residents in the Cobb County and metro Atlanta area,” Henghold said.
Lauren Cerny graduated from KSU and currently is a customer service coordinator for parking and transportation on campus. She volunteered as a site lead for Smith-Gilbert Gardens, a botanical garden in Kennesaw, out of a desire to give back to the community.
“When I arrived on campus (that) morning, I could immediately feel the electricity and excitement within the volunteer group,” Cerny said. “The work was very rewarding, and we could immediately see the impact we were making. I left Day of Service feeling inspired and proud to work for Kennesaw State University.”
Besides NCA and Smith-Gilbert Gardens, 2023 KSU Day of Service volunteers spread across the area to work at these sites:
• Georgia House Rabbit Society
• Pine Mountain Middle School
• North Cobb Regional Library
• Laurel’s Edge
• Georgia Writers Association
• KSU Field Station
• Radow Shoebox Project
• On-campus Earth Week project
• Kennesaw Mountain Trail Club
• Salvation Army Marietta
• Next Step Ministries
• Simple Needs GA
• Cherokee Garden at Green Meadows Preserve
• Books for Africa
• Good Mews Animal Foundation
• Adopt a Mile
• Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health
• Youth Empowerment through Learning, Leading and Service
• Marietta High School
• McCleskey-East Cobb Family YMCA
• Center for Children and Young Adults
• Cobb County Water System
• Chattahoochee Nature Center
Between the first Day of Service in 2014 and last year, more than 2,100 volunteers had helped at 116 project sites. In 2020, during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, the event was canceled.
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