If 2010 was any kind of a preview, 2011 will be a year of challenge—challenge to the nation, challenge to the individual citizen, and a challenge to us here at the UCLA Volunteer Center.
As usual, UCLA was—and is—up to the task.
This past year, Bruins continued to show their dedication on Volunteer Day, our second annual new student day of service. Held before the first day of classes, the event sent some 5000 incoming students, staff and alumni to 22 sites throughout Los Angeles, doing everything from painting schools to fixing park trails to working with the homeless on Skid Row.
The Center is leveraging this remarkable spirit with its website and vigorous on-line social networking. Our most recent partnership with Operation Gratitude, for example, occupies a designated page on our website where users can tune in to view the Thank You letters and photos from oversees troops who received their care packages from Summer Orientation 2010. Our Facebook analytics have indicated that each individual post made by the Volunteer Center averages over 2400 views and reaches about 1500 followers, which shows a significant growth in our online impact and user interactions.
Some of the events I’m most proud of involve service to UCLA’s own students and their community. In November the Center hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for our hungry or homeless students and their families. Earlier in the year we led 500 students/staff/faculty and alumni in a Westwood beautification day to improve our “town and gown” relationship. This coming year we began a new initiative, Project SPELL, a free literacy/language tutoring service for UCLA employees.
Volunteering is not just a one day commitment; it is for a lifetime. It is who we are and what we do. In fact, it is how we lead. Together our actions create UCLA’s “Community of Heroes.”
I invite you to volunteer with me and become a hero through sustaining the Center. We received a start-up grant from the UCLA Foundation and have been charged to generate continuing support from heroes like yourself. I appreciate your willingness to do what you can – whether that is $5 or $5,000. Together, we will serve and improve our communities and our world. To support our work, please visit our Donation Page at the following link: https://giving.ucla.edu/Standard/NetDonate.aspx?SiteNum=257.
Antoinette G. Mongelli
UCLA Volunteer Center