“Part of the mission of the AmeriCorps program, of course, is to ‘strengthen communities’ and to engage in ‘team-based community service,’” said Miguel Quinones, UTEC’s AmeriCorps Coordinator, “and that’s really what this Service Day is all about. In addition to helping out some of our local partners, it also serves as a great team-building day for all of us at UTEC.”
By mid-morning of that cool and overcast Friday, teams made up of AmeriCorps members, UTEC young people and program staff were fanning out throughout the city to take on a series of pre-arranged projects, including:
- At Mill City Grows UTEC’s team went to the ‘Big Farm’ to clean up many of their perennial plantings, move hundreds of pounds of supplies to a storage shed, and lay out tarps for spring planting.
- At the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell the team spent most of their day outside, cleaning the grounds and getting the garden prepped for spring. A few team members even spent time fixing the center’s foosball table. As Jamel, one of UTEC’s young people, said, “It really got to me when at the end they talked about how fixing a foosball table might be a small thing to us, but it’d be really meaningful for the kids.”
- At New Entry Sustainable Farming Project another team moved furniture and organized their “Food Hub” space.
- At both the Lowell Transitional Living Center and The Wish Project UTEC’s teams spent most of their time sorting, organizing, and distributing the various donations these organizations had received over the past year.
In the afternoon all the teams then returned to UTEC to gather for a late lunch and share their experiences and thoughts with one another, a fine way to wrap up a day filled with hard work, team-based service, and simple camaraderie. This day was perhaps best summed up by Hector, one of UTEC’s young people: “Going to a place and getting real stuff done is what makes this day awesome.”
Source: Lowell Sun