Thursday, September 15, 2011

Roughly 1,500 Whitworth volunteers to partner with Spokane nonprofits for Sept. 20 Community Building Day

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On a brisk fall morning in September, hundreds of Whitworth students, faculty and staff, including Whitworth President Beck Taylor and his wife, Julie, will gather on campus and then fan out to nonprofit organizations across Spokane to lend a hand in efforts to improve the community.

Community Building Day is an annual Whitworth event that initially began as a student-led campus-beautification endeavor more than a century ago, but has evolved into a partnership between local nonprofit organizations and Whitworth volunteers who work on clean-up and improvement projects throughout Spokane. Roughly 1,500 volunteers are expected to participate this year, up from 1,200 last year, making the 2011 Community Building Day the largest in Whitworth's history.

The perennially popular event serves as a tangible outgrowth of Whitworth's mission to equip students to honor God, follow Christ, and serve humanity. In addition to providing a first step toward fostering a lifelong ethic of social and civic responsibility in students, the event also provides valuable services to nonprofit agencies across Spokane. Community Building Day also honors President Barack Obama's call to a National Day of Service in remembrance of September 11, 2001.

"Our Community Building Day consists of numerous opportunities to serve the needs of the Spokane community," Whitworth President Beck Taylor says. "We look forward to joining together to express Whitworth's commitment to the common good of this region."

Community Building Day will take place Tuesday, Sept. 20, from 8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. After working in the community, volunteers will gather outside the Hixson Union Building on campus for a barbecue lunch. President Beck Taylor and Vice President of Student Life Kathy Storm will speak to participants at 12:30 p.m. to conclude the event.

Whitworth volunteers will work at 45 sites throughout Spokane. Beck and Julie Taylor will serve with roughly 15 volunteers at The Arc of Spokane, which recently opened a new community center at 320 E. 2nd Ave. The morning will include facilitating projects, games, and interacting with members of the community center.

At Off Broadway Family Outreach, roughly 40 volunteers will help with weeding, painting and general cleaning. Volunteers will work at various sites for Catholic Charities Spokane, including St. Margaret's Shelter, the Cathedral Plaza Apartments, the Fahy West Apartments, the Summit View Apartments, and St. Anne's Family Center. At CenterPointe, about 15 volunteers will work on arts and crafts projects with developmentally disabled adults. Volunteers also will help the Greater Hillyard Neighborhood Association with clean-up projects. Roughly 30 volunteers will help serve food to residents at the Park Tower apartments senior living facility. Volunteers also will canvass neighborhoods in northwest Spokane to find homeowners interested in energy-efficient retrofitting provided by Sustainable Works.

Other sites will include Anna Ogden Hall, The Boys and Girls Club, Camp Dart-Lo, Christ Kitchen, City Gate, Cup of Cool Water, Girl Scouts, Goodwill Industries, Hutton Settlement, Interplayers Professional Theater, Lilac Services for the Blind, Mission Community Outreach Center, Odyssey World, Project Hope – Riverfront Farms, Riverside State Park, Rockwood at Hawthorne, Salvation Army, several parks and lakes in the area, Volunteers of America, Westminster House, YMCA of the Inland Northwest, and Youth for Christ.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contacts:

Keith Kelley, director, Center for Service-Learning & Community Engagement, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4449 or kkelley@whitworth.edu.

Steve LaPointe, assistant director, Center for Service-Learning & Community Engagement, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4673 or slapointe@whitworth.edu.

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.