Kelli Kinnear, director of ministry and service, has worked at CJ for two decades and cannot recall a year when Eagles students did not give up part of a fall weekend to volunteer with classmates during the Join Hands Miami Valley community service project.
On Friday and Saturday, October 21-22, more than 140 CJ students along with 15 members of the faculty and staff did just that, contributing about 35 hours of service to 10 nonprofit organizations at 14 area locations.
According to its Web site, the United Way of Greater Dayton organizes Join Hands Miami Valley (JHMV) each year in celebration of national Make a Difference Day—traditionally held on the fourth Saturday in October. CJ students, in addition to volunteers from Sinclair Community College, Spring Valley Academy, Wright State University, and the Kettering-based GE Money, were challenged to “live united” by assisting their neighbors over the weekend.
“Chaminade Julienne continues to take part in this endeavor because it provides the perfect way for our students to give back to Dayton and to join with other community organizations in service. Join Hands Miami Valley allows CJ students to live out the school’s mission statement and become people of compassion, integrity and service,” Kinnear said.
“Our students come from 59 different academic institutions and represent all parts of Dayton—north, south, east and west. This community-based service project often opens their eyes to the needs that exist just down the street or across town from them.”
Eagle volunteers partnered with area organizations including Catholic Social Services, Clubhouse/Dreambuilders, Cox Arboretum, Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley, Life Essentials, Patterson Homestead, Possum Creek Metropark and Wegerzyn Gardens among others.
“The agencies that we serve benefit from our students’ work, but the students themselves always come away having had a great time serving together and meeting new friends who they may not have met at school before,” Kinnear said.
LEADING THE EFFORT
Spending a Saturday evening making Halloween-themed arts and crafts with children at Patterson Homestead is one of the many Join Hands Miami Valley activities senior Breonna Pinson has taken part in during her four years at CJ.
Pinson said she has continued to volunteer at a JHMV site each fall since freshman year because she has always had a great experience. This year, she decided to serve as a team leader, supervising a group of freshmen students at the historic museum on Brown Street, in order to pass the feeling forward.
“Service builds character,” Pinson explained.
“It makes me feel good to help people who can’t help themselves, and it shows you how fortunate you are to have the things that are provided for you,” she said.
A GROUP THING
Members of four CJ clubs and groups teamed up to complete projects at four separate locations, accounting for nearly half of all student participation over the weeked. They included:
12 members of FLIGHT, who helped prepare annual flower bulb and literature mailings for Catholic Social Services after school Friday.
15 members of Student Council, who worked in the prairie Saturday afternoon at the Marianist Environmental Education Center (MEEC).
18 members of JCOWA, who helped host visitors during Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm’s Enchanted Forest program Saturday evening.
25 members of the men’s basketball team, who spent Saturday morning working outdoors at the Dayton Christian Center.