Christie Miller/Assistant Director for Leadership & Civic Engagement
On October 27, over 70 students from ERAU participated in the Make a Difference Day of Service at four different locations. This event was organized by the Volunteer Network. It was a huge success thanks to all the students who participated and helped to make a difference in the community. Here is what they did in their words:
About 16 volunteers from EARAU went to the SMA Behavioral Crisis Center to help with a landscaping project. The SMA Behavioral Crisis Center is a place people with mental disorders and drug abuse problems can go for treatment. The facility needed a beautification project to raise the morale of both the patients and the employees. The volunteers helped take down dead brush, fill in the holes, plant some flowers, and set down pavers to create a path. The employees of the facility were overwhelmed with joy as they had been waiting to do a project like this for many years but never had the help they needed.
The Halifax Humane Society is a place for animals to be taken care of and adopted into loving homes. The Volunteer Network had 16 students volunteer their time to walk all the dogs in a portion of the shelter. The volunteers were asked to partner up to walk/play with a dog. Once receiving the leash the volunteers walked to the courtyard and either stayed in the open field or went into one of the three play areas. In the play areas, the dogs could be released to run freely as well as be played with. There were balls, rope toys, and other items to interact with. All of the animals had a loving hearts but different ways to express it. Every dog had wagging tails and a sparkle in their eye, knowing they were being loved. Talking to other regular volunteers, they said that helping with the Humane Society helped them stay sane. It was a meaningful outlet to relief stress produced during the week.
The Miracle League of Volusia County (MLVC) allowed for many Embry-Riddle baseball players and students to be a buddy during one of their baseball games. The game was played on a rubberized field and the volunteers were able to help bat, run the bases and play the field with the players. My buddy was named Damian and after spending the day with him I became awed at his story. Damian is autistic and also has cerebral palsy but my first encounter it did not seem this way; he seems like a regular thirteen year old. After speaking to his caretaker I learned that Damian has actually had a pretty rough childhood and that baseball is one of the things that keeps him going. Baseball is very important to him and to spend the time with him doing something he truly loves was truly a heartwarming experience. I had so much fun when Damian knocked the ball out of the park on his second time batting. I am glad I got to take part in such an activity.
About 20 volunteers from ERAU volunteered at the Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet. The volunteers assisted in the Bird Sanctuary by removing vines so that a rehabilitation enclosure could be built for injured birds. They helped with a Model Eagle Nest Construction by spreading gravel and gathering vines. They also assisted with Gopher Tortoise Habitat Construction. I was lucky able to participate in two of the three events, Bird Sanctuary clean up and the Gopher Tortoise Habitat Construction. We were overall able to accomplish a lot and were able to tour the center to learn more about conservation and wildlife in Volusia County!
It was a great day of bonding with our fellow ERAU students and helping the community. We are already looking forward to the next Day of Service in the spring semester.
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