From Los Angeles to Kyrgyzstan, UCLA Volunteer Day is coming, and registration is open to all Bruins, including students, employees and alumni.
UCLA’s 11th Volunteer Day takes place Saturday, Sept. 28, in more places than ever before — more than 100 locations in honor of UCLA’s centennial. Volunteer Day will serve communities in nine states and six countries, but most of all in Los Angeles County, where Bruins will participate in about 90 volunteer projects.
Students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members should sign up online by Sept. 26 for the project of their choice, where registration is first-come, first served. Volunteer Day is a cornerstone of the UCLA experience, and more than 2,600 volunteers are already registered for 2019. Participants can sort programs by their own interests, such as projects to help the homeless, the hungry, animals, children, the environment, veterans and others. They can also see which service projects include transportation from UCLA, outdoor work, or activities like painting or gardening.
Since it began in 2009, Volunteer Day has become one of the nation’s largest community participation events for new college students, and one of the first activities many new Bruins participate in. Organized by the UCLA Volunteer Center, Volunteer Day organizes Bruins to provide thousands of hours of service work at food banks, parks, shelters, senior centers, schools, veterans’ facilities and other community organizations.
The previous 10 Volunteer Days have included more than 54,000 volunteers on more than 400 projects, contributing in excess of 330,000 volunteer hours at an estimated value to the community greater than $8.5 million, according to the volunteer center.
Although Volunteer Day takes place just once a year, organizers and participants say it acts as a gateway to service.
“Volunteer Day ignites a passion in many students and inspires them to volunteer year-round,” said Karen McClain, lead organizer of Volunteer Day and senior director of athletics partnership and strategic initiatives for UCLA Alumni Affairs. “This year, we have more alumni involvement than ever before, as well. Being a Bruin is a lifelong commitment to giving back.”
The volunteer center invited employees, alumni and other off-campus Bruins to organize their own volunteer projects anywhere in the world. This year’s day of service includes plans for six international projects: a trash pick-up at a park in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; an animal care project in Shenzhen, China; a beach clean-up in Tokyo; distributing donated toys in Taipei; helping quadriplegics in Hong Kong; and collecting children’s books in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Out-of-state Bruins can also participate in projects in Arizona, Washington, D.C., Florida, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and Washington. Projects up and down California, from Sacramento to San Diego, cater to farther-flung in-state Bruins.
The spirit of volunteerism and giving back to the community has long been at the university’s core, and Volunteer Day builds on decades of UCLA’s contributions to Los Angeles and the world.