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Make a difference: Students to provide 2,000 hours of service

About 400 students from the College of William and Mary will contribute more than 2,000 hours of service to the Williamsburg community Oct. 20 as a part of the 9th annual Make-A-Difference Day.

The College’s Office of Student Volunteer Services has coordinated with local non-profit agencies to have students participate in nearly 30 projects across the area. Students will spend time with children, talk with residents at retirement centers, paint rooms and complete beautification projects throughout Williamsburg.

One of the agencies that students will work with is Dream Catchers, which provides professional equine-assisted therapy to special needs individuals in a caring and safe environment. Student volunteers will be joined by members of the William and Mary Williamsburg Alumni Chapter, working side by side to help with landscaping, cleaning the pastures and barn, and setting up for a yard sale fundraiser. Other students will spend the day at Williamsburg Landing, helping put gifts together with the facility’s residents to send to children in Africa as a part of Operation Christmas Child.

Other agencies William and Mary students will be working with during Make-A-Difference Day include the Jamestown 4-H Educational Center, the YMCA, Consulate Healthcare, Social Services,  York River State Park, the Heritage Human Society and the Salvation Army.

Student volunteers will work directly will representatives of the non-profit agencies who will provide the students tours of the sites and information about the mission and purpose of the agencies. Through direct interaction, agency representatives will share their passion for the work they do with the student volunteers, said Drew Stelljes, director of the Office of Student Volunteer Services.

“They are educating our students about the social issues that are a part of our community and our world,” he said. “For our part, students take part in meaningful work that truly makes a difference in the lives of our neighbors. They are helping to build a stronger community.”

Students at the College of William and Mary are consistently involved in community service projects. According to a 2006 survey, students at the College annually contribute more than 323,000 hours of community service. In addition, 75 percent of undergraduates reported that they had participated in volunteer work while at William and Mary. Earlier this year, about 200 William and Mary students, mostly freshmen, volunteered with community agencies across the area prior to the start of school as part of the first annual Students Helping Out Williamsburg (SHOW) Day

“The overwhelming commitment from our students is a powerful statement of our College's commitment to our community,” said Stelljes.

For more information, contact Stelljes at 757.221.3263.