This weekend brought a tremendous community service and learning opportunity by way of the Day of Caring, for 600 students enrolled in a freshman seminar class. The Day of Caring, sponsored by United Way of Lancaster County, is an annual community service event held on a national scale since 1991 to “live united” for a better community.
About 3,000 participants usually take part in Lancaster’s Day of Caring. Volunteers gather to help the community with a multitude of projects such as waterway cleanup, painting, carpentry, cleaning houses for the elderly, reading to children, yard work, landscaping and clerical work.
The Day of Caring was required for students in freshman seminar classes. Its purpose, according to the office of Experiential Learning and Career Management, is to “be a get to know you day. Get to know yourself, get to know each other, get to know the community.”
Millersville students went to about 20 different sites throughout the day.
One place students were able to help out was the Historic Rock Ford Planation located only 20 minutes from the university. The plantation has 23 acres of land, and the manager needed help with the upkeep; weeds and dead plants were throughout the garden and trails. The plantation building itself, although lovely, had a dirty deck, windows and shutters.
Rock Ford plantation was originally built in the 18th century as the home of Revolutionary War General Edward Hand. Now, it primarily functions as the setting for local weddings and ceremonies. In fact, there was to be a wedding a few hours after students left.
After hearing that the bride and groom were finally getting married after two and a half years of engagement, students felt more of an incentive to make the house and its grounds as beautiful as possible with the few hours they had.
Students set to work weeding the gardens, scrubbing the shutters and cleaning the windows and deck. Several hours later the grounds looked beautiful, but more importantly, the students left feeling much closer. Many students wished they could remain a little longer to help with the wedding and see the bride. Several students stated that they would love to have their wedding at Rockwell.
Although many students originally complained about it, the Day of Caring surprisingly turned out to be a lot of fun and a great learning experience. When asked, about the Day of Caring, several students shared their thoughts, “It was a great learning experience,” said one. “It was such a fun bonding moment,” shared another student.
Although the Day of Caring is over for the year it is not too late to get involved in community service. United way has volunteer opportunities all over the county specializing in but not limited to education, financial stability and health. All opportunities are listed on United Way’s website at unitedway.org.
You can also find opportunities at the office of Experiential Learning and Career Management desk located on the third floor in Lyle hall or on their website at http://www.millersville.edu/elcm/.