Pouring rain and cold temperatures did not stop nearly 200 students and staff members at The College of New Jersey from participating in the 2016 Day of Service on Saturday, October 22.
Participants, many of whom are Bonner Community Scholars, spent hours volunteering at 15 sites across Mercer County, from Hamilton to Downtown Trenton. Their day began with a breakfast and speech by Michael Nordquist, Ph.D., the Interim Executive Director of the Center for Community Engaged Learning and Research at TCNJ.
Nordquist told attendees that “these organizations are doing this every day. We get to do it occasionally. We want to give as many opportunities to as many people possible to get out there and do this on a regular basis as well.”
Volunteers served at a wide variety of area locations. While some students assisted with the preservation of New Jersey history at the recently reopened 1867 Sanctuary in Ewing and the Ewing Township Historic Preservation Society’s Benjamin Temple House at Drake Farm Park, others worked to maintain and plant at local community gardens with partner organizations such as Isles, Inc. in the Old Trenton neighborhood and the historic Trinity Cathedral in Trenton’s West Ward.
Several participants dedicated their day to setting up programs for local children at HomeFront’s facility within Lawrence Community Center in Lawrence Township and at Urban Promise at St. Michael’s Church in Downtown Trenton. One group joined A Better Way, Inc. in Trenton to produce the Trunk or Treat program for the youth of the community. The walls at the Princeton Deliverance Center in East Trenton were painted by Bonner Community Scholars, and the offices of Habitat for Humanity of Trenton were organized. Other sites that were part of the 2016 Day of Service included Ewing Township’s HomeFront Family Campus, Visitation Home, Inc. in Hamilton Township, and the Rescue Mission of Trenton.
The 2016 Day of Service was presented by TCNJ’s Center for Community Engaged Learning and Research in partnership with the Division of Academic Affairs and the Cultural and Intellectual Community Program Council. It was established in 2015 to honor the legacy of Pat Donohue, the center’s former director.
According to Nordquist, the day “is a way to bring to life the commitment that TCNJ has to the region, to the community, and to Trenton.”
For more information about the Day of Service, visit http://celr.tcnj.edu/dayofservice2016/ and to make a contribution to the Bonner Institute’s annual Serve-a-thon fundraiser, visit http://community.tcnj.edu/bonnerserveathon
-Jared Kofsky ’20, Bonner Community Scholar