Last week was National Volunteer Week and we had hoped to be able to celebrate it with you through Day of Caring. However, with Gannon moving to online delivery and social distancing measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 we cannot serve together in the same way. That doesn’t mean we’re going to let this pass us by, though! We’d like to invite you into a few ways we can virtually observe Day of Caring.
Just because we have to say socially distant doesn’t mean we can’t be connected to our community. We’ve collected a few different ways to help you get involved in ways that keep you safe and help those around you thrive:
- Pick up garbage on your walks. We know it isn’t glamorous, but melting snow and spring winds conspire to make ever-present litter even more visible. Getting outside every day is good for you; take a few minutes and make it good for our planet, too!
- Find socially distant service. Many volunteer organizations need their work to continue, even if it looks different at this time. Compounding that need is that many organizations rely on retired folks to do a lot of that work, but they are dropping out because of their risk factors.
- Local to the Erie campus? Visit getconnectederie.org to find local volunteer opportunities that still need your help.
- Live in or near the Our West Bayfront? Still on campus? join the Our West Bayfront for a socially-distant neighborhood cleanup on Saturday, May 2. Getting outside is good for you; let’s make it good for our neighborhood, too! Click here for cleanup kit locations and other OWB instructions.
- Local to the Ruskin campus? HandsOn Suncoast has a dedicated COVID-19 response page to help you get involved.
- Somewhere else? Contact your local Catholic Charities or United Way to find organizations that need an extra pair of hands during this time (or email us with your location for some assistance).
- Make a commitment. When society starts reopening, organizations are going to need to reimagine what their programming looks like. Reach out to groups you care about and let them know you are there when you are needed. Places that host programming in their building will need to do a deep clean before they can let clients back in; community gardens are already behind the curve getting their beds prepared for the growing season; and most organizations are significantly behind in their fundraising. Now is the time to prioritize what your service will look like when you can get out.
- Be patient! This, as you know, is uncharted territory for everyone. Organizations that rely on volunteer help are facing a lack of volunteers, a lack of funding, and the knowledge that those they normally serve are facing more hurdles than ever. All of those worries are on top of what we are all facing – trying to work (your studying is your work!), navigate new family patterns, and live your entire life within the same four walls. It will probably take the people you want to serve more time than normal to get back to you. Be patient with them and they’ll appreciate the work you do more than ever!
Third, tell us about it!
- Share Day of Caring service: Find us online – Twitter @GannonCSC, Facebook @Gannon University Center for Social Concerns, and Instagram @gannontravel. If you find ways to get involved, share it with the hashtag #guvirtualdoc20 and be entered to win a prize from the Center for Social Concerns and Global Exploration! Any project done through May 10 will be entered in the drawing.
- Share your personal service: log personal service hours through engageU! Click on your picture or initials in the upper right-hand corner of engageU and select “experiences.” Use the blue “add experience” dropdown to tell us about the service you did during the 2019-20 academic year!
- Share your group’s service: IF YOU ARE A CLUB/ORG OFFICER: fill out annual service reports for your club/org on the CSC page here.