Oct 24, 2016
by Jolise Elsinghorst
Community Building Day made me realize why our office does what it does. I went with a group to Holmes Elementary. At Holmes Elementary the volunteers were grouped with a student to pick up trash around the neighborhood while the leadership walked around the neighborhood to pick up trash and text our supervisors where the glass and full trash bags were.
Helping organize this event by doing small tasks like make lunch ticket, and corral students into buses may seem trivial, but this morning in the West Central community made me realize that for many years the Dornsife Center would continue to partner with this school and this neighborhood. Being in the middle of this event made me realize how proud I was to have been a small part of helping this day happen and this partnership to continue. Community Building Day was one day, but the connection, and the volunteer outreach has lasted years. This is true for all the outreach to Spokane that occurs during Community Building Day.
Every first year student in Whitworth University undergraduate programs is required to take a First Year Seminar or Transfer Seminar class where they learn the ropes of college and Whitworth University. This class requires students to participate in Community Building Day by spending four hours in the Spokane community. Sometimes the service-learning is related to the major targeted in the seminar, but sometimes it isn't. For example, my first year at Whitworth University I was in an art First Year Seminar, that ended up going the Museum of Arts and Culture and weeding.
Whitworth does make a difference. In 2015 Community Building Day involved 1,100 people who served in total 4,400 hours. According to Independent Sector, a "charitable community, partnering with government, business, and individuals to advance the common good," a volunteer hour in 2015 had a value of $28.99 which means that Community Building Day had a $127,556 value, based on the volunteer time for the state of Washington (https://www.independentsector.org/volunteer_time; https://www.independentsector.org/). The partnerships and the rapport between us as a Whitworth body and the community is deep and will continue to be deep when we go out into the community.