April 21, 2008
Staff, students to fan out into community over two days for volunteer work
Stanford staff, students, faculty and alumni will spend several hours volunteering on Thursday, May 1, and Friday, May 2, as part of a biennial event called the Community Partnership Program. The program is intended to engage members of the Stanford community with local organizations in the hope of fostering a long-term commitment to community service and a better mutual understanding between the university and its neighbors.
When the first Community Partnership Program was held as a one-day event in April 2006, approximately 200 members of the Stanford community signed up to volunteer for nearby nonprofits and projects on the Peninsula. This year's program is designed to make a bigger impact by featuring more projects and volunteer slots over two days.
Stanford's Office of Public Affairs organizes the Community Partnership Program on behalf of the university, and some student groupssuch as the Frosh Councilare assisting as well.
"To meet its educational and research mission, Stanford must create and sustain meaningful partnerships with the surrounding communities and the people living there. We affect the surrounding communities, and they affect us," President John Hennessy said. "The best way to meet area challenges such as traffic, housing, economic development and environmental sustainability is through earnest cooperation. The Community Partnership Program helps us do that."
The volunteer projectsmany of them suggested by Stanford employeesinclude such vital area organizations as Abilities United, Acterra, Bayshore Christian Ministries, the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula, Breaking Bread Hot Meals Program, Breast Cancer Connections, Canopy, Ecumenical Hunger Program, Friends of Foothills Park, Hidden Villa, Lytton Gardens, Magic, Redwood City School District, Saint Anthony's Padua Dining Room, Saint Elizabeth Seton School, Save the Bay, Sequoia Audubon Society, Shoreline Park at Mountain View, Urban Ministry and YMCA of the Mid-Peninsula.
"It means so much to the clients who don't typically have an opportunity to engage with the Stanford community," said Lorena Collins, senior program director for San Jose-based InnVision, which provides housing and other services to 16,000 people in Silicon Valley every year. "When the community gets involved with our programs, our clients benefit a great deal. Community giving is therefore valued and we can see that it is rewarding for both parties. The time they spend with our homeless just visiting is just as valuable as the food they serve."
During the event, the university will provide round-trip transportation for volunteers, who will receive a free T-shirt and bag lunch.
The biennial event alternates with Community Day, the university's open house celebration that is held every other year, also in the spring. An estimated 8,000 people came onto campus for last year's Community Day.
For more information about the Community Partnership Program, please visit http://commpartnerday.stanford.edu.