Each year, Yale Day of Service acts as a celebration of service, of giving back and making a difference. On Saturday, May 11, alumni, family, and friends came out to service sites across the country and around the world to continue this tradition.
In all, 2,500 volunteers are expected to participate in Yale Day of Service in 2019, in roughly 15 countries, nearly all 50 states, and at approximately 225 service sites. And while May 11 served as the official 2019 Yale Day of Service, many service events started earlier this spring and many more will be held in the months ahead.
“Yale has long had a strong tradition of service, and we see that affirmed each year during our annual Day of Service,” said Yale Alumni Association Executive Director Weili Cheng ’77, who took part in a service project at KIPP DC, a college prep charter school in Washington, D.C. “It really is an incredible day – both to give back to the local community and to celebrate service as an integral part of a Yale education and the Yale alumni experience.”
The 2019 service projects ran the gamut. Food pantries from Sarasota to San Jose and from Bulgaria to Boston hosted Day of Service volunteers, while alumni in London and the Bronx worked with refugee populations in need. Farms, parks, beaches, and rivers were all the beneficiaries of cleanup efforts in places like Maryland, Miami, Cape Town, and the Netherlands. And students from Seattle, New Haven, and Washington received career advice, homework help, college prep, and more. There was even a tandem bike ride project for the blind in New York City.
As always, Yale Day of Service was especially active in New Haven, with more than 25 projects registered in and around the Elm City. That includes the Newborns in Need event hosted by the Yale School of Nursing, in partnership with the Working Women’s Network, the Yale Child Study Center, the Yale Latino Networking Group, Yale Department of Pediatrics, and YaleWomen CT, which drew close to 150 volunteers, and six events around the area spearheaded by the Yale School of Public Health.
“This is a marvelous tradition that brings the School of Public Health into the community for projects in which we can be of use,” said School of Public Health Dean Sten Vermund. “One day does not transform New Haven, but it is an appreciated gesture of commitment that underscores the YSPH ethos of service.”
For 2019, Day of Service added three new local partners in the Yale Police Department, WorkLife Yale, and the United Way of Greater New Haven. And Yale Veterans were active in the area as well, hosting a Day of Service event in partnership with the Eastern Blind Rehabilitation Service of VA Connecticut Health System.
“It’s incredible how Yale alumni come together like this, and truly inspiring to see the energy and enthusiasm that Yalies around the globe bring to Yale Day of Service each year,” said Matt Meade ’87, who serves alongside Elvira Duran ’05 as alumni co-chair of Day of Service, working with a team of regional coordinators to create service opportunities. “It’s a unique opportunity to meet classmates and make new friends while pursuing a cause that has tangible, meaningful benefits for everyone involved.”
For members of the Yale community looking to get involved in 2019 Day of Service, there are still a host of remaining service projects open for enrollment. Interested volunteers can find a site and register at yaledayofservice.org.