Week of Service at City – students lend a helping hand in local community

Franchesca Walker

Student volunteers gathered in the surrounding areas of City College to take part in the Week of Service Oct. 20-24. The week long event had volunteers serving meals at the St. Vincent de Paul Village and doing maintenance at Balboa Park.

The Week of Service was started by City College Student Affairs Supervisor Lori Oldham in fall 2013 after a conversation with Denise Whisenhunt, the former dean of and current vice president of student affairs.

In summer 2013, Oldham contacted the City of San Diego Parks and Recreation as well as St. Vincent de Paul to do volunteer work. From there she was able to find locations where students could volunteer at and began the Week of Service in Oct. 2013.

Allie Castellanos, a public relations officer in ASG, is involved with the week long event.

“This is my second semester participating,” said Castellanos. “This time around, I actually picked up the most shifts out of all the time I’ve participated. I’m doing four out of five (days for Week of Service).”

Students have discovered the event through postings throughout campus as well as social media. Not only are students involved, but some faculty as well.

“At first it was just ASG and student clubs, but now students are just finding out about it,” said Oldham.

The volunteers worked in shifts in the morning and afternoon maintaining the park. Each day, a group of volunteers were assigned to a specific part of the park. Before getting started on the tasks, they attended an orientation for safety by a city worker. Volunteers restored the designated spots by picking up trash and removing excess plants.

At St. Vincent de Paul, volunteers worked in the kitchen preparing and serving meals for a great multitude of people.

“On Monday for the first shift we showed up at 6 to 9 a.m. and different people were on the line serving the breakfast,” Castellanos explained. “I was assigned to help prep the lunch, so we were marinating meat and making sandwich lunch bags. You’re feeding hundreds and hundreds of people, so everything’s done in bulk. One person can’t get it done alone so it’s a team process.”

“Seeing that smile on that child’s face in the morning while serving them breakfast, it sometimes can do more for yourself than it can do for that child,” Castellanos shared. “It’s beyond us.”