Family Volunteer Day takes place on Saturday, October 13, from 12:30 until 4:00 p.m. It's just one of the many activities that weaves the Buffalo State community into the lives of Buffalo’s neighborhoods and people.
For many years, Buffalo State faculty, staff, and students have taken part in a fall community service day.
This year, participants can bring their families, too—whatever "family" means to any individual. "People asked if they could bring their roommates, partners, kids, and friends," said Laura Hill Rao, coordinator of the Volunteer and Service Learning Center (VSLC). "So we expanded participation, which also recognizes the fact that 'family' has many different definitions today. For many out-of-town students, their local family may be their teammates, residence hall neighbors, or fellow members of a fraternity or sorority."
"We have a list of community partners," said Rao, "and we solicited projects from them." This model—asking community members what they want from Buffalo State—is a hallmark of Buffalo State’s campus/community partnerships.
Phyllis Harris, Masten District community liaison for Buffalo Common Council majority leader Demone Smith, serves as community coordinator for the Wakefield Avenue Block Club. "Buffalo State has been helping us with Wakefield Block Club projects for several years," said Harris. "One of our goals is to turn lots that are vacant eyesores into community gardens." The gardens help to enlighten the neighborhood children about the importance of living in a safe and healthy environment, Harris explained.
This year’s project is to lay a brick walk in a community garden on the corner of Wakefield Avenue and Hill Street on Buffalo's East Side. On October 13, volunteers from Buffalo State will continue the project, which was begun by Buffalo State first-year students during orientation last summer. "We appreciate Buffalo State’s ongoing support each year," said Harris.
Many organizations are offering volunteer opportunities for Family Volunteer Day. Some, like Vineyard City Church, None Like You, and several neighborhood associations, are long-time partners; others, including Bennett Park Montessori School, are new this year.
"We have a variety of activities from painting a community center to planting spring bulbs to helping out at a fall festival," said Rao. "Buffalo State students, faculty, and staff, along with their families and guests, are welcome. There are no age restrictions; age-appropriate projects will be available."
To participate, register in person or by e-mail with the VSLC in Cleveland Hall 306, or by calling (716) 878-5811. Volunteers will meet at Campus West; buses will take groups to the sites and return them by about 4:00 p.m.
This event is funded by the Grant Allocation Committee, with support from M&T Bank and VSLC community partners.