“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold: service is joy.”
This quote from the Bengali poet Tagore embodies the heart, mind and attitude of Erin Currier and her student service coordinators. As a part of the campus ministry service team, Currier is in charge of organizing this year’s Day of Service, which will be held on Saturday, April 16.
For the third annual Day of Service, there are slots for 250 volunteers to spend their Saturday volunteering their service to residents around Siouxland. Students, faculty and staff who have volunteered to serve will be divided up according to the number of workers needed at each site. Groups are usually around three to seven people, but some sites ask for up to 20 volunteers.
“People think it’s the whole day since it says ‘Day of Service,’ but for you it’s only two hours,” said student coordinator sophomore CharissaThornton. Half of the volunteers will work the morning shift, arriving downtown at 9:30 for instructions and directions and setting off to work from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. A free lunch of Pizza Ranch pizza will be served at Windmill Park for the morning volunteers returning from service and the afternoon volunteers before their shift starts. Following lunch, the afternoon shift will be from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
“The Day of Service is an important reminder that there are needs in our own community, that we don’t have to plan a long trip to a far off place in order to serve others.” As an avid participant of Spring Service Projects (SSP), senior Kathryn Miller understands the importance of service. “The community supports us by sending us off to other places on SSPs, and the Day of Service tells them that we haven’t forgotten about this community or the people here.”
From small business in Orange City to NW partners like Justice for All in Rock Valley, Saturday’s volunteers will be serving in a wide variety of ways. “I realize how big service is even living in a small community,” Currier said. “We have a lot of churches sign up, but also some elderly couples who want their yard raked or their windows washed. It’s neat that we’re able to help both big organizations and single residents.”
Not only should Day of Service be a fun way to say “thank you” to the community, but “giving back [to the community] has never been so easy,” Thornton said. “We make all of the arrangements. All the students have to do is reply to an e-mail and show up.”
Although it’s just for one Saturday of the year, Day of Service isn’t intended to be a one-time thing, but rather to show the students where there might be needs so that they can become more involved in the community on a more consistent basis. “I think this opportunity shows us that we can make service here in our own community a more consistent part of our lives, because giving up a couple of hours at a time is doable for most of us,” Miller said.