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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Emory Cares ... everywhere

When I accepted the position of coordinator of regional volunteer programs at the Emory Alumni Association (EAA) in August, I was told that managing Emory Cares International Service Day fell under my job description. “Sounds good,” I said. “I went to Emory for college, so I know all about Emory Cares.”

I had no idea.

I knew Emory Cares Day was worldwide and open to all members of the Emory community. I assumed the EAA and Volunteer Emory (VE) staffs worked pretty hard organizing it. But until I started communicating with project coordinators and volunteers across the nation and around the world, I didn’t quite understand the scope of Emory Cares Day.

Yes, the EAA and VE staffs work tirelessly, and we’re happy to do it. What really impressed me was the dedication of the alumni, student, staff, and faculty project coordinators. Some of the project coordinators have led the same project for years. Others are people who found a great organization or wanted to be part a part of connecting the Emory community to the larger community. They helped organize projects, spread the word, and made sure the volunteers had a fun and rewarding experience.

All of this hard work resulted in another record-breaking year for Emory Cares: 76 projects in 27 cities in four countries on four continents with approximately 1,500 volunteers worldwide, including roughly 1,100 in Atlanta alone. You can see some of our photos on the EAA's photo page. We'll be adding cities as they come in.

Emory Cares has gained recognition outside of the university community. The Arlington Food Assistance Center (A.F.A.C) has named the Washtington, DC Chapter of Emory Alumni its “Volunteer Group of the Year 2010.” The DC chapter has volunteered with A.F.A.C. every year since Emory Cares Day was founded in 2003.

Oxford College’s project making gift boxes for children in foster care was featured in the Covington News, the local newspaper of Covington, GA. And on campus, we made it into The Emory Wheel.

Emory Cares Day also succeeded in reaching new regions and countries. The EAA introduced a new program this year, Emory Cares Everywhere. It allowed alumni outside of Atlanta to plan their own volunteer project and join in the spirit of community, no matter where they lived. This program attracted alumni in areas as small as Sherman, CT (population 3,827) and as far-flung as Amsterdam.

We sent them Emory Cares t-shirts to wear while volunteering, and they sent back photos and notes saying how meaningful it was to know that they were connected to the Emory community even when far away.

The success of Emory Cares International Service Day 2010 shows that Emory does care - about the global community, and about one another.

-- Kate Gregory 09C, coordinator, volunteer programs, WAA

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