Northern Virginia Community College will sponsor its first Day of Service Jan. 18, with two on-campus and two-off-campus service projects for which more than 100 NOVA students, faculty, staff, and members of the community have committed to volunteer their time. NOVA’s Day of Service coincides with the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, a nationwide event to honor the late civil rights leader on the federal holiday commemorating his birthday.
The one-day volunteer event is being organized by the staff of NOVA’s recently launched Drive to Employment, a service-learning grant program, which is co-funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service. The Corporation is chartered by the federal government to provide tools and resources to groups and individuals serving and volunteering in their communities. The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service is just one of the many projects the Corporation coordinates on behalf of the federal government.
One of the on-campus volunteer activities taking place Jan. 18 will be staffed by students enrolled in the first course offered in the Drive to Employment program. Automotive technology students will perform free vehicle preventative maintenance from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for unemployed and low-income members of the community at NOVA’s Alexandria Campus. Vehicle services will be performed for pre-selected clients of FACETS, Homestretch, and Northern Virginia Family Services.
Another volunteer activity that day, also on the Alexandria Campus, will be a school supply drive to benefit children in Iraq and Afghanistan. Donations of school supplies such as blunt-edge scissors, 12-inch rulers, pencils, erasers, small pencil sharpeners, colored pencils, notebook paper, composition books, pocket folders and zippered pencil bags are being solicited and will be put in kits by volunteers from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for shipment to U.S. troops in those countries, who will distribute the kits. The drive is a cooperative effort by NOVA, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and Operation International Children.
At off-campus events Jan. 18, volunteers will assist customers and sort donated clothing and household items at the Clock Tower Thrift Shop in Centreville, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and at CrossLink International in Falls Church, volunteers will sort donated medicines and medical supplies from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. All Clock Tower Thrift Shop proceeds go to support Northern Virginia Family Services’ Special Foster Care and other programs. CrossLink International’s medicine and equipment are shipped to an international humanitarian network of doctors, nurses and missionaries working in the U.S. and in more than 110 third-world countries.
Milan Hayward, special assistant for career and technical education and head of the Drive to Employment program at NOVA, said he expects NOVA’s 2010 Day of Service will be an annual event to demonstrate the college’s service focus. He also noted the appropriateness of the first course offered through the new grant program playing a substantive role in Day of Service activities. As Hayward explained, “The purpose of the Drive to Employment program is to demonstrate that service learning programs can prepare individuals for employment and solve community problems at the same time.”
For more information about NOVA’s Jan. 18 Day of Service, please contact Hayward at 703-323-2263 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Heather Neikirk at 703-323-2357 or email@example.com. Those who want to register for one of the volunteer activities can go to NOVA’s Web site homepage, www.nvcc.edu, and click on “National Day of Service.”
Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.