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Blog: Caring Counts at Alverno

Alverno College is celebrating its rich tradition of "giving back" through “Caring Counts”. This article discusses the program and the volunteer efforts of one family.

Alverno College has a proud tradition of giving back to the community. The students, faculty, and staff are highly regarded for putting their beliefs into action through volunteerism and service to others.

This year, Alverno marks its 125th anniversary and is celebrating its rich tradition of “giving back” through “Caring Counts”. This program encourages volunteerism and allows members of the Alverno community to keep track of their volunteer hours. The goal is to reach 125,000 hours by the end of 2012. So far this year, nearly 30,000 hours have been logged by students, alumnae, faculty, staff, and the School Sisters of St. Francis. As an Alverno employee, I am proud to participate in “Caring Counts”.

Volunteering is important to my family and we try to give back to our community through service to local non-profit organizations, various committees, and the public schools. For example, my husband Dave is active in Boy Scouts. Much of his volunteer work is done behind the scenes handling paperwork and troop finances, but he also gets to work with the scouts one-on-one and has watched many boys grow into fine young men. He enjoys the camaraderie of the other parents and has built many lasting friendships through Scouts. He enjoys volunteering because he feels that he is making a difference in people’s lives.

As a mom, I found it rewarding to volunteer in the public schools throughout the years. I especially enjoyed volunteering in my children’s classrooms when they were younger. It allowed me to spend valuable time with my children and their classmates, and it helped me to appreciate their teachers. The time I spent reading with Mrs. R’s kindergarteners will always be among my fondest memories. These days, when visiting the middle school and high school I often times see Mrs. R’s former students walking the halls. They usually remember me and smile and I’ll think “wow, I remember when they read If You Give a Pig a Pancake to me”. It’s a good feeling and I’m grateful that I once gave up my afternoons to sit with them when they were little.

For the past few months I have been volunteering for Start School Later. I am very passionate about this organization and proud to be on their steering committee. I spend many hours each week providing pro bono professional services and performing other tasks. Volunteering in these capacities has been challenging but extremely rewarding. Even more rewarding is working with the other volunteer members of our organization. We are diverse geographically, yet strongly united by a common goal. Someday, I believe that our collective efforts will result in a national policy change. Getting there will be very difficult, but possible, through the passion and dedication of hard working volunteers.

Volunteering is an individual choice, it is the action of “one”. When those actions are done collectively by a number of individuals, the impact can be huge and the power of “one” becomes profound. As individuals, we really can make a difference. I’m proud to work for an institution that values volunteerism and encourages putting beliefs into action. Alverno teaches many things, but they have never taught the word “impossible”. It’s an amazing school that graduates some very amazing women.

“Some­times when I con­sider what tremen­dous con­se­quences come from lit­tle things, I am tempted to think there are no lit­tle things.” ~ Bruce Bar­ton

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