Jayme Anderson knows she was born to volunteer. As Project Impact coordinator, the senior elementary education major hopes to help her fellow Union College students find joy in volunteering, as well.
“I never really knew what my purpose in life was,” said Anderson, a secondary education major. “Then I started volunteering and I knew that I had found something I loved and wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
Project Impact is Union College’s annual service day when more than 80 percent of campus takes the day off to help community service organizations in Lincoln. Many students see the value of service and continue volunteering in community service programs throughout the year. “I started by volunteering at a hospital when I was 13,” explained Anderson. “Project Impact is great because there is always a need and we can help to meet that need—even if we don’t have special skills.”
Started as project BRUSH (Beautifying Residences Using Students Help) back in 1981, Project Impact is the longest running volunteer program of its kind in the nation. Last year’s 30th anniversary saw more than 750 students, staff and employees of Union College serve nearly 75 sites across Lincoln.
“I’ve been participating with Project Impact for two years now,” explained Pablo Colindres, a junior communication major. “I love doing it because it’s a day off from classes, we get to have fun helping the community and we get free food.”
While it is difficult to quantify the effects Project Impact has had on the city of Lincoln, an estimated 18,300 volunteers have worn the signature Project Impact t-shirts while contributing more than 115,000 volunteer hours over 31 years. Volunteers mainly contribute hours to complete tasks that agencies do not have time to accomplish, such as dusting, raking, mopping, washing, filing, organizing, shoveling, painting, building and any other requested tasks.
“My first year we got to help out at a daycare by cleaning,” said Colindres. “Then last year I had a blast filming our adventures at the Matt Talbot Kitchen while we served lunch.”
Easy things like scooping food into a tray or playing with kids for a few hours are important to Anderson, because she knows that those small easy acts can go a long way. “The people that we help are always so thankful, it gives me energy and its great to worship God in a different way,” she said.
The event kickoff and group photo will take place at 8:00 a.m. under the clock tower on Union College’s campus at 3800 S. 48th Street on Thursday, September 6.