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Oglethorpe Incoming Freshmen to Volunteer Across Atlanta Today

A group of students will conduct a clean-up at Silver Lake in preparation for its Centennial celebration.

Oglethorpe University’s largest incoming freshman class will start their life at OU with a day of volunteering in Brookhaven and surrounding communities today starting at 9 a.m.

This is the first year the incoming class will reach seven local nonprofits during their Day of Service.

“Oglethorpe University has expanded its Orientation Day of Service for incoming students to reach multiple nonprofit sites in the Atlanta area,” said Tamara Nash, director of the Oglethorpe University Center for Civic Engagement. “Our goal is to make the service experience more impactful for both the nonprofits and for the students," she said in a press release.

Incoming students will have hands-on experience learning about an Atlanta nonprofit, its mission, and how it serves the community need, and will experience a tangible impact while working closely with their class members. When possible, students will volunteer at a nonprofit project directly related to their field of study. At the same time, a greater number of nonprofits’ needs will be addressed more intentionally.

In recognition of their efforts, the Class of 2015 will receive the Phoenix Award from the office of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed for “its exemplary commitment to community service” and “for its hard work and dedication toward improving our quality of life and making our city a better place to live, work and play.” The Phoenix Award is given to organizations and individuals who have made significant contributions to the residents of Georgia.

The Oglethorpe University Center for Civic Engagement organizes the annual effort.  Four focus areas were identified when determining the volunteer locations: (1) education (2) environmental stewardship, (3) health and wellness, and (4) homelessness and hunger.  Oglethorpe’s first-year students will volunteer at the following nonprofit organizations this morning:

Books for Africa – More than 80 volunteers will sort and pack books for Books for Africa to ship and distribute to children in Africa. Books for Africa is the world’s largest exporter of donated books to Africa.

Grant Park – More than 100 volunteers will prepare and beautify the Atlanta’s oldest public park for the Grant Park Summer Shade Festival, scheduled for the following weekend.

MedShare – More than 40 volunteers will sort and prepare medical supplies to be shipped abroad by MedShare, which is dedicated to improving healthcare and the environment through the efficient recovery and redistribution of surplus medical supplies and equipment.

Open Hand – More than 40 volunteers will help prepare and package meals to be delivered to medically fragile clients throughout Atlanta by Open Hand, which helps people prevent or better manage chronic disease through a combination of home-delivered meals and nutrition education.

Park Pride – More than 50 volunteers will help to eliminate non-native and invasive species at Delano Line Park in Decatur. Through its volunteers, Park Pride coordinates more than 15,000 hours of volunteer work in Atlanta parks annually.

Push Push Theatre – More than 50 volunteers will help to remove the stage floor of Push Push Theatre, an award-winning theatre in Decatur, to make way for a television show to be filmed there this fall. Students and faculty from the Live Theatre, Instrumental Jazz, and Sports Ethics classes will work side-by- side cleaning, organizing, and painting areas of the theatre.

Silver Lake Centennial Clean-up – More than 20 volunteers will assist with clean-up at Silver Lake in the Brookhaven neighborhood of Atlanta, located directly behind the university’s campus. The project will help the community to prepare for the Silver Lake Centennial events in September 2011.

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