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Bruins Give Back

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By Kristen Hardy '17

Published Oct 1, 2015 8:00 AM


UCLA's Annual Volunteer Day draws thousands of students, alumni and others to serve at sites across Los Angeles.

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Photo by Andrew Rosenstein

Now in its seventh year, UCLA’s annual Volunteer Day sends thousands of Bruins to more than 40 community service sites across Los Angeles County at the beginning of the fall quarter. The day of service has become one of every new student’s first UCLA memories.

Volunteer Day began in 2009 when Chancellor Gene Block added service to the list of True Bruin values and created the UCLA Volunteer Center.

More than 6,500 incoming freshmen and transfer students participated in this year’s Volunteer Day overseen by more than 600 volunteers, including UCLA staff, faculty, alumni, parents and upperclassmen, as well as Bruin community members. Volunteers worked in each of Los Angeles’ 15 City Council districts at schools, parks, shelters, senior centers, veterans sites and neighborhood centers. Projects included mural painting and beautification at schools and shelters; distribution of school supplies and dental hygiene kits; restoration of nature trails; landscaping; technology tutoring with seniors; and interactive activities with school children.

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Photo by Jonathan Van Dyke

"Service is one of the core missions of UCLA, and Volunteer Day exemplifies that, hopefully instilling in every new student a connection to the city beyond our campus,” Block says. “We’ve seen that for many students, Volunteer Day inspires a lifelong dedication to shaping and bettering their communities, wherever they go after graduation."

Sophomore David Brik recalls becoming involved last year as a student newly arrived from Australia. “I met people I still speak to,” he says. “It was kind of like an army of volunteers, all coming from the same place, and it is something I really wanted to experience — something at such a big scale.”

Last year he volunteered at an elementary school in an underserved part of Los Angeles where he helped paint murals and talked to kids about the college experience.

“It was very eye-opening to see that the community always needs help and you are always welcome to help,” says Brik, who was so inspired by the experience that he joined the Volunteer Center as a student events assistant.

Assemblyman Miguel Santiago who visited Second Street Elementary this year, says that Volunteer Day is one of the many reasons he is proud to be a Bruin. “I want to express my gratitude to the students of UCLA, for their service throughout the City of Los Angeles and for their commitment to community involvement and spirit of volunteerism,” he says. “Today’s students are the workforce of tomorrow, and we need to ensure that every student has the diligence and willingness to serve their community and prepare not only themselves, but those whom they mentor, to become future leaders.”

This story is based on an article in the UCLA Newsroom. To view the original full-length article, visit http://ucla.in/1PkYv7L.

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