– A record number of participants took part in Marymount University’s annual Volunteer Day of Service on Saturday, with 313 people preparing 2,500 care packages for teenagers transitioning from foster care to life on their own.
“It was a huge success,” said Meg Dalmut, Marymount’s associate director of community engagement, who noted that the largest previous turnout was 175 volunteers. “It was great to see so many people kicking o"the school year with service, since that’s such a big part of the Marymount experience.”
Students, faculty, staff, alumni, administration and community members began the day with breakfast at the school’s Lee Center before starting work at 9 a.m. This year’s event marked a departure from the past when teams helped with a variety of projects throughout the community.
“I think the fact that it was on campus this year, we were all together, and people knew what they were going to do helped,” Dalmut said.
The volunteers finished an hour and a half earlier than expected, which provided time for team-building exercises. Classes began at Marymount
“They’re an incredible group to work with, from President Matt Shank on down,” said Lynn Davis, director of operations for Foster Care 2 Success, the Sterling-based non-profit that helps foster care students across the country when they turn 18 or graduate from high school, which in many states means they must leave the social services system.
Davis said the care packages will be sent to former foster students who are now attending college. The packages included personal care items, a puzzle book and school supplies. Food items will be added before shipping, which is scheduled for next month.
“When people think of foster care, the image that typically comes to mind is of younger people and we tend to forget that many of them will age out without ever having been adopted,” Davis said. “They still need support. I have a college student of my own and can’t imagine sending him out into the world alone.”
Photo 1: Many hands made light work at this year’s Volunteer Day of Service at Marymount University. The 313 volunteers worked so efficiently that they finished an hour and a half ahead of schedule. (Photo by Chris Radcliffe)
Photo 2: The 2,500 care packages will be sent to former foster students across the country who are now attending college. They include personal care items, a puzzle book and school supplies. Food items will be added before shipping, which is scheduled for next month. (Photo by Chris Radcliffe)
Photo 3: Marymount University’s annual Volunteer Day of Service drew 313 volunteers on Saturday. The group prepared 2,500 care packages for teenagers across the country who are transitioning from foster care to college life. (Photo by Chris Radcliffe)