UCLA’s eighth annual Volunteer Day, a cornerstone of the UCLA experience and the nation’s largest community participation event for new students, will take place Monday, Sept. 19. Before classes even start, more than 7,200 volunteers, including more than 6,500 incoming freshmen and transfer students, will lend a hand at 50 different locations all over Los Angeles.
Every UCLA student begins their college experience not with classes but with service — at schools, veterans’ centers, food banks, parks, homeless shelters, retirement homes and more. Volunteerism is part of the essence of being a Bruin, and for new students who are not from Los Angeles, one of their first tastes of the city is serving the community. Volunteer Day is a call to action that inspires many Bruins to volunteer regularly with the UCLA Volunteer Center.
The annual day of service was created by UCLA Chancellor Gene Block in 2008 as part of a major initiative to make UCLA a national leader in volunteerism. Service is one of the core principles of being a Bruin, and through the Volunteer Center and Volunteer Day, Block encourages students, alumni and employees to make a lifelong commitment to helping others.
“Volunteer Day is a personal and meaningful way for new UCLA students to learn about their city, and an important way for the university to connect with members of our larger community,” said Shannon Hickman, director of UCLA’s Volunteer Center. “Many of our volunteers are inspired to volunteer year-round, either at their Volunteer Day site, one of our other projects, or with another nonprofit or student-run organization.”
The roughly 40,000 hours of community service provided on Volunteer Day — and in advance by volunteer organizers — are conservatively estimated to have a value of more than $920,000 in services provided. The day has an enduring impact on the communities served — and on the students.
Monday morning, roughly 7,000 Bruins will gather in UCLA’s Drake Stadium as early as 7 a.m. and board 130 buses to paint schools, dance with veterans, prepare meals for the homeless, sort donations at a food bank, play bingo with seniors, mentor school kids, clean beaches, spruce up public parks and hiking trails and more. They’ll provide hours of work in South Los Angeles, Van Nuys, Venice, MacArthur Park, Atwater Village, Skid Row, Santa Monica and elsewhere. They’ll visit veterans at the Veterans Home of California — West Los Angeles and the Veterans Affaris Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. They’ll talk about chemistry to Gault Elementary students in Van Nuys, and clean pocket parks along the L.A. River Greenway Trail.
Media are invited to a 9 a.m. event at Hoover Street Elementary School, where 100 volunteers will paint a map of the United States on the playground, paint lines for basketball courts and touch up paint in the cafeteria. Chancellor Block will be joined by State Assemblyman Miguel Santiago and school Principal Martha Avelar, who will all speak to the school’s children and help UCLA students distribute tote bags containing $49,000 worth of school and dental supplies donated by the nonprofit K to College school supplies.
Members of the media are welcome at all locations. For a full list that includes a map and additional details on individual volunteer sites, see volunteerday.ucla.edu/2016-community-partners.