On Sept. 12, 2014 the University of West Georgia’s College of Social Sciences hosted its second All-College Service Day. The goal of the event was to get UWG students and faculty involved in the Carrollton community. Associate Dean of the College of Social Sciences Dr. Amber Smallwood was the liaison for the organization of the big day.
“We are very excited to be continuing our All-College Service Day in partnership with the Community Foundation of West Georgia. Our aim was to grow last year’s 80 participants to 100,” Smallwood continued. “Over 160 students, faculty and staff are registered to volunteer and we expect to near 500 hours of service through this single morning of service.”
Due to the influx of interest more locations were added to accommodate the volunteers. “Interest in the 2014 event grew so quickly, we reached out to other community partners days before the event to find additional service opportunities for volunteers,” said Smallwood.
After the mandatory meeting at UWG, volunteers were stationed throughout the community via UWG bus shuttles. One of the locations was Manna House. Kathy Parsons, Minister of Missions at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, is chief liaison of the organization. “We’re completely volunteer based,” said Parsons. “They do everything from packing bags, taking applications, to unloading trucks.”
Around 9:15 a.m. the volunteers began to arrive at Manna House where Parsons gave the group a brief bio of the organization and the tasks at hand. The helpers were divided into groups based on their tasks and sent to work. The volunteers were responsible for organizing cabinets, sorting Box Tops for Education clippings, while others prepared hygiene bags. The bags consisted of soap, shampoo, conditioner, a toothbrush, and a box of toothpaste.
“These volunteers today are doing stuff we do not have time to do,” said Parsons. “Last month we helped over 650 families, which translated to thousands of individuals.”
Caela Smith was one of the several student volunteers in attendance. “I’m a part of the public relations firm, Bluestone, and we thought this was a great way to get involved with our community. Personally I think I’m making a difference in the community by taking the time to be a part of something bigger than ourselves,” said Smith. “There are so many people in need of assistance. I’ve been sorting box tops, and I’m realizing how important these are to people. Each point is worth 10 cents, and we’ve counted hundreds of them so far; it has definitely made me realize that the seemingly little things make a difference.”
“Under Dr. Marrero’s leadership, UWG set community partnerships as a priority in our strategic plan. The All-College Service Day is one of many community-focused initiatives led by faculty, staff and students in the College of Social Sciences,” said Smallwood. “We also host a monthly ‘Just Listening’ circle for veterans and community, the Carrollton Assets Mapping Project which will launch soon, the annual Honoring Community talks, numerous projects led by directors of our Survey Research Center, Data Analysis and Visualization Lab, Waring Archaeology Lab, Bluestone Public Relations Firm, as well as service-learning and internship collaborations.”