For two days, CJ students will be “joining hands” with others in the Dayton area, volunteering at service sites.
Join Hands Miami Valley is the area celebration of National Make a Difference Day, which is held near the end of October each year. This year's Join Hands Miami Valley is taking place October 23 and October 24.
“It shows our commitment to the community,” said Director of Ministry & Service, Kelli Kinnear. “Certainly it shows our commitment to our ministry and our faith; that we are living it out and trying to show our students that this is what it means to live out our faith.”
CJ has participated in the annual event for more than 20 years. This year, students have the option to volunteer at one of 13 service sites including St. Vincent de Paul, Marianist Environmental Education Center, and Taylorsville Metropark.
Last year, science teacher Matt Fuhs volunteered at two sites for Join Hands Miami Valley.
“The first site was the Dakota Center, and the second site was at K12 Art Gallery,” said Fuhs. “I joined students at the Dakota Center to help run an after school program. We helped the staff put on a Halloween party for the students in the after school program. We played games and did art projects with the kids. At K12, we made a collage of broken glass to be displayed in the community.”
Many CJ clubs and sports teams also use the time spent volunteering as a bonding experience.
“One example is the men’s basketball team, which has been doing this for years,” Kinnear shared. “To me it shows that our culture here at CJ is not just coming from the Ministry & Service department; it’s a school wide culture. This is what we do.”
“It makes me feel good when we help. It's building our team and building community at the same time,” added Jake Murray '16, a member of the men's soccer team. That team will be painting walls and doing other services for The Clubhouse at Dreambuilders this year.
Fuhs said volunteering experiences, like Join Hands Miami Valley, are something students should continue to do often.
“The students have enjoyed the experience at every site that I have been to,” Fuhs expressed. “I have a lot of hope for our students when I see them sharing their time and talents, and enjoying it while they do it.”