Archive for Friday, May 2, 2008

Day of Caring offers family opportunities

May 2, 2008


Center to celebrate National Day of Caring

People in the area will show they care by getting out and volunteering this weekend. Enlarge video

As a child, Micki Chestnut was raised by a mother whom she described as a "front-line volunteer" in her community.

Chestnut would work alongside her mother at times and became just as passionate about volunteering. Now as a mother of three, Chestnut's children have been performing community service alongside her or on their own throughout Lawrence.

"When I became a mother, I felt strongly about my children having the same opportunity," she said.

One of the ways they've worked together to help others in their city is to participate in the annual Lawrence Day of Caring.

Roger Hill Volunteer Center will be host Saturday to a communitywide volunteer project. At least 300 volunteers - individuals and families included - will work on more than 80 projects throughout the local area as a finale of National Volunteer Week. Projects include home-improvement projects for senior citizens, painting nonprofit buildings such as the Salvation Army or cleaning parks.

For a few years, Chestnut, a Lawrence-based freelance writer, her husband, Rob Chestnut, a city commissioner, and her children, Spencer, 16, Connor, 13, and Madeline, 11, have helped a single elderly woman complete home-improvement projects.

"We're really excited because when we volunteered, we did lawn cleanup and just stuff she wasn't able to do," Micki Chestnut said.

This year they will be returning to her home, but without their sons. Spencer will be on his own working with Roger Hill Volunteer Center's teen program, and Connor will be working with the Boy Scouts.

The Chestnut family is "such a great example of volunteerism, and they really instilled it in their kids, and it's working and it's showing," said Tracie Massey, Roger Hill Volunteer Center manager.

Massey said she hopes that others will be inspired by the event and continue to volunteer throughout the year. An event such as Day of Caring makes it easier for people to learn what and how they can make a difference, she said.

The event begins at 9 a.m. with a breakfast celebration at Free State High School before volunteers disperse to volunteer sites in Douglas County. Volunteers are welcome to attend that breakfast and then go to work - even if they haven't signed up.

For more information, call the Roger Hill Volunteer Center, 865-5030.


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