Student volunteers carve pumpkins with D.C. children

GW student volunteers met 70 elementary school students with crayons in hand and pumpkins by their sides for a day of fun Saturday.

The Kid’s Festival, coordinated by the Neighbors Project, brought children from Seaton Elementary School, Martha’s Table, The Calvary Multicultural and Bilingual Learning Center and the New Community After-School Advocacy Program to campus for a variety of activities. The children carved pumpkins, bowled, designed Thanksgiving cards for the elderly and drew pictures depicting how students can make a difference in the world.

The festival reflected the essence of partnership between GW and the community which the Neighbors Project strives for, Martha’s Table AmeriCorps leader Shafkat Anwar said.

Groups of children rotated to different stations, where volunteers from the Neighbors Project and Alpha Sigma Sigma guided activities.

Seaton student Bin Hu said he was having fun while he sprinkled gold glitter on a Thanksgiving Day card to give to an elderly person through the Emmaus Services for the Aging.

At the bowling alley, some Martha’s Table children choreographed a good-luck dance, which involved patting volunteers on the head before rolling their bowling balls down the lane.

GW and the surrounding community supported the event, which coincided with National Make a Difference Day, sophomore AmeriCorps member Eddie Rodriguez said. Frank’s Pumpkins in Maryland donated pumpkins and the Student Activities Center loaned out the Marvin Center bowling alley for the event.

This is the first year we’ve had a Kids Festival, and we’ve had a lot of help from the community and other organizations, Rodriguez said.

The Kid’s Festival marks the end of The Neighbors Project Volunteer Week. AmeriCorps leader Jackie O’Brien said the level of volunteering this year has been impressive, with about 280 students volunteering in the month of September alone.

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