August 5, 2010
Roughly 5,000 U.S. military service members in hostile regions around the world will soon be receiving care packages in the mail containing a little music, Joe Bruin’s favorite apparel and a lot of gratitude, compliments of UCLA’s new freshman class.
As a powerful introduction to UCLA’s commitment to volunteerism, incoming first-year students are assembling Bruin care packages destined for U.S. service members that contain UCLA apparel, 20-song iTunes cards and letters students have written to express their appreciation for the invaluable service these men and women are providing.
“I’m glad to have the opportunity to take part and show my appreciation to the troops since I haven’t had the chance to do so on my own,” said Karen Lively, an incoming comparative literature major, who was part of an assembly line putting together the packages. “It’s a good introduction to service at UCLA, especially in discovering new ways to give back to the community.”
Part of the new student orientation, the program was organized by the UCLA Volunteer Center and UCLA Summer Orientation Program in partnership with Operation Gratitude, a volunteer-run, nonprofit group based in Van Nuys that has sent more than 500,000 care packages to troops all over the world. It is the first time that Operation Gratitude has partnered with a university on this scale, said David Bloome, campaign director for the Volunteer Center.
Following up on last year’s highly successful Volunteer Day in the first week of the fall quarter, the center wanted to expand on ways to instill a culture of volunteerism with students’ very first exposure to UCLA, organizers said. This fall’s Volunteer Day will be held on Sept. 21.