GW hosts Volunteer Week

GW’s second-annual Volunteer Week, which includes events such as breakfast at Miriam’s Kitchen, brown bag lunches and a week-long food drive, takes place this week.

Coordinated by sophomores Madeleine Buck and Rajvee Bhalakia from the Office of Community Service, organizers said they hope this year’s Volunteer Week will not only be exciting, but will also reach many people in the community through service and donations.

GW’s campus-wide Volunteer Week was established last year by Eddie Rodriguez from the Office of Community Service, and has since become an annual event.

We hope to raise a campus awareness of direct community service, educate people about the Shaw community, and recognize volunteers who provide their services, said Stacy Blumenthal, coordinator of the Neighbors Project in the Office of Community Service.

Volunteer Week kicks off early Monday morning at Miriam’s Kitchen, where participants will serve breakfast for the homeless. Students can volunteer at Miriam’s Kitchen again on Thursday morning from 6 to 8 a.m.

Monday’s events continue with a free barbecue at Kogan Plaza and conclude that evening in the Marvin Center with a roundtable discussion about community service.

The discussion will focus on homelessness and the assumptions and perceptions that surround the issue.

We are really excited about the week’s events because it allows for the interconnection between the George Washington University and the community, said Kavitha Kasargod, one of the 14 members of the Neighbors Project corps. Many people from outside the University are sponsoring some of the events.

Students can make cards for senior citizens Thursday afternoon on the H Street terrace.

Volunteer Week also includes a weeklong Provisions Market food drive.

Students can help Miriam’s Kitchen and the Northwest Settlement House by donating food purchased on meal points from Provisions Market, organizers said.

The week’s events will culminate on Saturday with Make a Difference Day, a national event sponsored by USA Weekend magazine. The event is designed to raise awareness about volunteerism around the country.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Make a Difference Day, both nationally and for the University, and will include a volunteer marathon, in which students can participate in either part or all of the events.

Students can volunteer at Miriam’s Kitchen and Emmaus Serivces for the Aging, help clean-up sections of the Shaw neighborhood, tour Martha’s Table and eat ice cream with Jonathan Kozol, an education expert and author of Savage Institutions and Amazing Grace.

Kid’s Fest, which will run concurrently with the Saturday’s other events, will be held in the Hippodrome and around the Foggy Bottom campus.

For Saturday’s Kid’s Fest students can volunteer to work with children from the Neighbors Project sites, and participate in fall activities such as pumpkin painting, storytelling and face painting at the Hippodrome. The children will also be trick-or-treating in the residence halls between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

GW’s 14 Neighbors Project corps members recruit and train volunteers to work in programs that focus on the areas of senior services, health services, education services and communication development.

Organizers said they are particularly excited about the ice cream social with Kozol.

We are very lucky to be able to pull Jonathan Kozol away for an hour from the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness annual conference, which will be held this year at the University of Maryland, Blumenthal said.

Kozol will speak at the Strong Hall Piano Lounge from 5 to 6 p.m. Saturday

All the activities are open to the GW community.

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