The time has come again for UW Tacoma to come together to serve our greater Tacoma community for Day of Caring. This year’s Day of Caring will take place Oct. 13 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Students, staff, faculty, alumni and UWT family members will be able to visit and volunteer at one of the six available sites based on volunteer preference and availability. This year’s sites include Tacoma Rescue Mission, Metro Parks, St. Leo’s Food Connection, Downtown on the Go, the UW Tacoma Giving Garden and the Pierce County AIDS Foundation.
Volunteers at Tacoma Rescue Mission site will be helping those experiencing homelessness. Here, volunteers will help prepare meals and help to process donations.
The Metro Parks site will focus on clean up and maintenance of Franklin Park through the planting of trees, pulling of invasive weeds and removal of litter.
St. Leo’s Food Connection volunteers will be helping to feed local families through St. Leo’s Food Connections food line. This includes restocking shelves, escorting clients through the line and carrying bags.
The Downtown On the Go site will be ideal for business, marketing and communication students or anyone with a background in these fields. Volunteers will be discussing marketing to change behaviors and will aid in the creation of a photo campaign that will showcase alternate modes of transportation and the greater impact it can have on Tacoma.
For the UWT Giving Garden site, working on the garden’s native plant walk will be emphasized. Volunteers will pull weeds, mulch and lay down a new pathway. This will prepare the garden for a signage project with UWT’s Lushootseed Institute and professor Danica Miller, which will have plants identified in the Lushootseed language and have an explanation of their traditional uses.
Pierce County AIDS Foundation volunteers will focus on making safe sex educational kits for public distribution and will provide feedback for safe sex education programs.
ASUWT Director of University of Affairs Christie Peralta will be taking on the role as a site lead for the Pierce County AIDS Foundation site. This is after serving as a volunteer two years in a row, both of which left her with mixed feelings.
“I’ve had pretty different experiences each year I’ve been involved in Day of Caring,” Peralta said. “Due to attendance for this event initially being mandatory for Milgard Freshmen Direct Students, I didn’t have valuable experiences my first two years because it was the idea of being forced to volunteer and not having the ability to choose. Because of this, it really set the tone for how those volunteering experiences went.”
Peralta decided to give Day of Caring another try after that year.
“Because I wanted to have a better outlook on the importance of Day of Caring, I reached out to Paul Prociv last year to see if I could play a more active role to give me more freedom in hopes that it would change my perspective on Day of Caring,” Peralta said. “And I’m glad I did! Serving as a site lead provided me with a better perspective on how our volunteer work, even for just a couple hours, really helps the different organizations make progress in their missions to serve the Tacoma area.”
Day of Caring is hosted by the Center for Service and Leadership. Their civic engagement specialist, Paul Prociv, said that this day is about more than cleaning, pulling weeds or making kits for a day.
“For me, it is really about getting into a mindset of service,” Prociv said. “This can be the start of something great. You get to explore and get out and meet more people. Yes, it provides a unique service and makes a big impact, but it really is about aligning our values with our actions.”
One student that Prociv said embodied this mindset was UWT alumna Amy Boucher.
“She has really embraced that ethic of service and giving back by starting small and building,” Prociv said.
Boucher started out participating as a student and now acts a coordinator for the Giving Garden. This year as an alumna, she will act as a community partner for Day of Caring through her other role as a volunteer coordinator for Metro Parks.
“She is really interested in service, engages and runs the Giving Garden, then gets a job, and then loops all of that in with Day of Caring,” Prociv said.
Boucher — who is no stranger to volunteering — encourages those who are contemplating participating in Day of Caring to sign up and see what the event unfolds for them.
“It’s worth making the extra push to do it. You’re building community and filling up your mind, body and soul through a willingness to come out through your service,” Boucher said.
To sign up, visit: tacoma.uw.edu/DayOfCaring