Spotlight Series: UA Spring Day of Service Brings New Volunteers to ASN
This year the University of Arkansas held its 2016 Spring Day of Service on Saturday, April 2nd. This event had 465 participants contributing over 1,268 hours for several participating organizations including Arkansas Support Network.
UA volunteers participated in relocating Encore Kids to its new home at 2705 S. Thompson in Springdale. Maria Nessim was our project leader for the Spring Day of Service. She is a member of Alpha Delta Pi and applied for the job with the Volunteer Action Center at the University of Arkansas. “I was nervous that I wouldn’t have enough people or that registrants wouldn’t show up. I think the turnout was way better than I expected” Nessim said.
About the recruitment process, Nessim noted, “I knew it would be difficult to find people to volunteer on a Saturday to begin with. Then I learned the project was moving boxes and thought the pressure was really on! Once I told people about the organization it was a little easier to get them to sign up and of course since food was provided, that made it more appealing.”
The back room at Encore was full of generous donations previously sorted by volunteers and participants. A total of 18 volunteers gave 72 hours of service to ASN. They quickly moved over 40 boxes, cribs, and shelving display units to the new store.
Nessim said it was a great experience. Everyone participated in a few games and learned a lot about people who have disabilities. The group played some trivia for candy to break up the box moving and had an honest conversation about inclusiveness. They realized that one-third of the group either had a disability themselves or knows someone who has a disability. Several students had participated in inclusive activities in grade school like the Best Buddies program. They said that experience is what led them towards volunteering with an organization like Arkansas Support Network.
The new Encore Kids is almost complete. The location will still house Workbridge and School-to-Work programs and will have new classroom space. We are thankful to have a large part of the move out of the way!