-- A blog of the Office of Leadership, Service and Engagement --

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Volunteers Stay Green

On Saturday, April 10th, 17 Elmhurst College students and staff served at SCARCE (School and Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education), an environmental education organization in Glen Ellyn, IL. While there, the group assisted with the Book Rescue Program, sorting and coding books for shelving in the SCARCE library. These books are donated to low income schools, families, alternative education programs and special education programs. In 2009 the book rescue program gave 11,000 books to nearly 2,000 families during the Back-To-School Fair.

Additionally, many volunteers worked on the Crayon Rescue Program, peeling wrappers, sorting colors, and preparing old, broken crayons to be melted down so that they can become new crayons. The reformed crayons, called Super Crayons, are larger than standard crayons. These Super Crayons are donated to schools and programs that work with children with special needs.

SCARCE does more than just this though. The organization has four other rescue programs as well as other recycling and educational programs for families, schools and communities. SCARCE, started in 1990, is a green organization that strives not only to educate its volunteers and participants, but also activate them to help create a sustainable future.

For more information on SCARCE please visit http://www.bookrescue.org/default.asp

Thursday, March 18, 2010

On Saturday, March 13th, 16 members of the Elmhurst College community worked with ASPIRE, an organization that works with and supports individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. The group of volunteers assisted with a craft for residents of an assisted living facility, creating gift bags. The volunteers partnered up with some of the residents and spent the morning socializing and assisting them in designing and decorating their gift bags.

ASPIRE is an organization that strives to assist and support children and adults with disabilities as well as their families. Founded in 1960, ASPIRE has become a profoundly successful organization that supports many educational, social and employment programs as well as assisted living facilities that directly assist more than 1000 children and adults a year.

For more information about ASPIRE please visit http://www.aspireofillinois.org/index.html

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Popular Project Makes Big Impact

The trip on Saturday February 13th, 2010 to the Feed My Starving Children facility in Aurora was by far our most popular service project this year! Nearly 40 students volunteered 5 hours of their time on Saturday to help put together specially formulated food packs designed to deliver essential nutrients to children suffering from malnutrition. Although the food packs are not difficult to make, it takes a lot of volunteered time to supply enough packs to support all of FMSC’s feeding programs in nearly 70 countries around the world.

After 5 hours at the FMSC facility, Elmhurst volunteers had made enough food packs to save 55 children from starvation for an entire year. The work, needless to say, was incredibly rewarding for all involved. The FMSC organization as a whole helped deliver more than 96 million meals last year alone, which kept many children protected from malnutrition and starvation. Many of the student volunteers enjoyed the fast-paced work and were more than willing to come back and help feed more children.

For more information about Feed My Starving Children please visit http://www.fmsc.org/Page.aspx?pid=398

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Volunteering Makes the Holidays Brighter

In spirit of the holidays, 18 students volunteered their time at the Oakbrook Terrace Corps of the Salvation Army on Saturday December 12, 2009. The students helped sort through food donations and create boxes of food to be distributed locally to both families in need and homeless shelters.

Some students during the sorting process were disappointed to see the quality of the food that had been donated. Volunteer Noelle Sereis said that “the food that is donated to food pantries is not uncommonly cheap, expired or damaged in some way”, which makes the sorting of the food an important part of the process of creating the meal boxes. Although the incoming donations may not have all been of the best quality, after a few hours of work the students were able to assemble many boxes of food to make the holidays a little better for local families and shelters.

The Salvation Army does a lot more than just collect and distribute food. They also support actions against human trafficking, hold youth camps, assist the elderly, families of prisoners and promote many other charitable programs. Although only one section of The Salvation Army’s mission, food collection and distribution is one of the staple programs during the holiday season, making the time volunteered by students all the more valuable in keeping this tradition of giving going.

For more information on the Salvation Army please visit:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

EC Visits Elmhurst Extended Care Center

On Saturday November 7th, 2009 14 students volunteered their afternoon to help facilitate and participate in a few games of BINGO at Elmhurst Extended Care Center. The students helped hand out BINGO cards and call out numbers as well as spend some time visiting with the residents.

Elmhurst Extended Care Center offers extended care and rehabilitation services for post-operative patients as well as Alzheimer’s care. The center offers activities for its residences every day that include outings into the community as well as other social, recreational and spiritual events.

The volunteers were certainly appreciated at the BINGO game on Saturday. According to Noelle Sereis, one of the 14 volunteers, “the residents were excited to see us” and some even took time to share photos and stories with the volunteers. Sereis added that “it felt rewarding to know that we helped brighten their day“.

For more information about the Elmhurst Extended Care Center go to http://www.elmhurstextendedcarecenter.com/.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

October's Service Project Stays Close to Home

The October service project, which took place on Saturday the 19th 2009, turned out to be a successful part of EC’s Family Weekend. The 27 students who signed up for this project didn’t have to travel far to volunteer at St. Mary’s Cemetery which is located across the street from Langhorst Field and West Hall. The helpful crew of students spent four hours getting the cemetery ready for the upcoming winter months.

Usually this clean-up process is handled by Colleen McEvoy who started caring for the cemetery because sister is buried there. However, in recent months this task has become more difficult to complete on her own, so student volunteers helped to spruce up the Cemetery by raking, weeding and cleaning up the grounds.

The work was a bit difficult, and the site was not necessarily the most uplifting, but many students felt rewarded in knowing that by donating just a few hours of their time they not only saved Colleen McEvoy days worth of work, but also helped the community by helping maintain the cemetery. Keep an eye out for service opportunities in the future, as Elmhurst College and the Office of Leadership, Service and Engagement will continue to plan service trips to help McEvoy care for the cemetery.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Kicking Off the New Year with a New Fair

Twenty Elmhurst College students helped volunteer at the first Annual Cantigny Green Fair that was held on Saturday, September 26 at Cantigny Park in Wheaton. The fair was sponsored by Cantigny Park, part of the McCormick Foundation, and SCARCE, an organization dedicated to educating and inspiring people about Eco-friendliness. The Fair was designed to celebrate Eco-friendly practices as well as to educate the community and local businesses on how we can continue to think green.

The 20 Elmhurst College students who volunteered their time for this fair were asked to help handle the assortment of e-trash (electronics like DVD players, radios, computers, etc.) that had been donated to be recycled as a part of the Fair’s Recycling Extravaganza. The Extravaganza was held to help keep useful or recyclable items out of landfills. The Extravaganza not only sorted through electronics, but also took vinyl records, inkjet cartridges, water filters, scrap metal and old or damaged American flags so they could be properly retired.

The students helped load the donations onto a converted flatbed, then sort through the various types of equipment. Although the work was not necessarily exciting, Junior Leif Mueller says “the experience was great… it was something worth doing on a Saturday afternoon”. It was great for the fair as well, because as the student volunteers were handling the trash donations, other volunteers were able to help run the “FashionEcoNista” Show, the organic and local Farmers Market and several Eco-activities for kids.
The Green Fair turned out to be a big success, with over seventy five vendors and even more volunteers helping to bring education and insight to the community about thinking green and creating sustainable communities. Hopefully even more students will be able to volunteer next year to continue this new tradition at Cantigny Park!

For more information about Cantigny Park please visit http://www.cantigny.org/
For more information about the McCormick Foundation please visit http://www.mccormickfoundation.org/
For more information about SCARCE please visit http://www.bookrescue.org/