By Amanda Swart, Contributing Writer
Days of Service at UMF provides an easy way for busy college students to get out into the community and help others through multiple volunteer opportunities offered throughout the semester.
Days of Service is a program offered through the Partnership for Civic Advancement (PCA), “to help UMF students integrate into the Farmington community through half day service projects,” according to Kirsten Swan, Director of Leadership and Service, and the person in charge of the event. “Students are looking to volunteer in the community and Days of Service often helps students make that first connection.”
The event has provided local businesses and organizations with the help they need through working with UMF and PCA. “We contact businesses and nonprofits during the summer months to inquire about community service opportunities for students each fall,” said Swan. “We also receive calls often times for a one time project and we post those opportunities as well.”
Some of the volunteer programs include, but are not limited to: Rustic Roots Farm, Seniors Plus, Double B Equine Rescue Farm, Franklin County Animal Shelter, and most recently; Mission at Eastward (MATE).
MATE is an organization that serves small, rural communities, providing social outreach. “MATE members help more than 70 families in the summer months with a variety of housing projects,” said Swan. “More than half of the families live below the poverty level and many are elderly- unable to do the work needed.”
Swan talked about their most recent project right in Farmington; renovating an old barn in order to store materials, tools, and supplies. Even though it was the first time the partnership teamed up with MATE they hope to work with them again in the future.
Danielle Cote, a UMF junior, worked with MATE during the last Days of Service. “It was really a great feeling knowing I was doing something to help my community,” Cote said. “The people at MATE definitely made us feel appreciated and it was a great enviroment to work in. I would love to spend more time working with them on projects.”
Although MATE may not still be in service due to the oncoming cold season for the next event, there are still plenty of other opportunities to volunteer. “I definitely plan to sign up for Days of Service again,” said Cote.
Signing up for the event is simple and easy to do said UMF junior Amanda Dwyer, who works at the partnership. “There’s a bulletin board posted in the student center listing all of the volunteer options,” said Dwyer. “You can also sign up at the partnership’s website.”
Days of Service is about giving back to the community. Swan’s favorite part is, “Watching students make a connection through a project, educating students about the greater Farmington area and it’s offerings and giving back to a business, nonprofit or other enterprises.”
Days of Service is open to anyone in the UMF community and the final event for the 2016 Fall semester will be on Saturday, November 5th.