Over 50 students from Onondaga Community College gathered in the Academic II Recital Hall on the morning of October 24 to prepare for the first annual Onondaga Day of Service. Students donated their time from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to assist 12 organizations throughout the City of Syracuse. Projects ranged from planting trees and cleaning up area parks to preparing and sorting food at area distribution centers. The Day of Service was coordinated by Service Learning and Volunteer Coordinator Maria Malagisi along with the Student Association, Athletics and Residence Life.
One organization receiving help was the United Way of Central New York. It needed more than 400 books sorted and organized in time for the Children’s Book Fest at Destiny USA the next day. OCC student volunteer Selena Gancasz wanted to help the United Way because of her love of books. The sophomore Humanities major is a strong believer in its Success By 6 program which gets children interested in reading. “I love reading to children and hope my efforts can make a difference in their lives by getting them the books they need at the Book Fest.”
Joan Boyle, ’96 serves as the Vice President of Community Impact and Executive Director of the Success By 6 program at the United Way. She was very appreciative of the student’s help. “This makes me feel great. It is wonderful to see young excited students giving back to their community, especially students who are going to the same place I went. There is still that wonderful feeling that I had when I was attending OCC of really connecting with my community.”
Gancasz agrees. “I feel really lucky. I want to make a difference in the world. The first step is volunteering in your community because I feel that can go a really long way in making a difference.”
Students participating in the Day of Service volunteered at several other organizations including the Food Bank of Central New York, Meals on Wheels, the Samaritan Center, St. Camillus and the Ronald McDonald House.