CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Penn State Lehigh Valley students spent the week of Spring Break volunteering across the Lehigh Valley through the Mini-Days of Caring program organized by the Office of Student Affairs.
Students were invited to sign up for one to three days of service depending on their interests and availability. A fourth day was planned, but cancelled due to inclement weather.
Day one, March 5, was spent at the American Red Cross in Allentown, where students helped prepare decorations for their annual ball. This is the largest annual fundraising event for the local Red Cross Chapter and the students’ assistance will help provide an enjoyable atmosphere. While at the Red Cross, students had an opportunity to learn about the Red Cross hurricane relief efforts.
“As a student, I often fall into the mindset that everything is unfair with constant assignments, tests and projects. Volunteering always puts things in perspective for me that I'm very fortunate for the life I have. I also volunteer because as a student, I don't have a lot of money to give to help others, but I can give time!” said Hannah Daly, a junior rehabilitation and human services major, who volunteered for all three days. “I love that Penn State Lehigh Valley has this option. It puts me in connection with a lot of great organizations, and since this is one of the few weeks during the year that I have some free time — because of no classes — I like spending my limited free time wisely.”
On day two, March 6, students went to the Sixth Street Shelter in Allentown to paint an apartment and to organize donation shelves for resident apartments.
For the last day of the Mini-Days of Caring on March 8, students went to Phoebe Allentown. Students shared their cultural backgrounds and traditions with residents of Phoebe during a cultural program.
“We had students sharing their attire, dancing, photos, art and traditions during a meaningful program for the Phoebe Home residents,” said Pam Fleck assistant director of student affairs at Penn State Lehigh Valley. “Portugal, Vietnam, India and China were all represented in this program. The residents really enjoyed learning about their backgrounds.”
This was the second year of local alternative spring break and the Student Affairs team was very pleased with the response of student volunteers.
“We kept our reach local again this year and give our students the chance to connect with Lehigh Valley agencies who serve those in our own community,” said Pam Fleck, assistant director of student affairs.
Each day, about a dozen students along with Fleck and Patrick Cassidy, coordinator of student life, embarked on a new project.
“Each day at a new site gave a new, unique and meaningful experience to our students,” said Fleck. “While students have many ways that they can spend their spring break, it was especially satisfying to see them sharing their time and talents through service to those in need.”
Students were awarded swag items depending on how many Mini-Days of Caring they participated in.