Change the world one Saturday at a time with the Center for Leadership and Volunteerism’s Service Saturdays. The center organizes the events to help the community by allowing students to volunteer.
“I think it’s a good way to get involved with the community and let the community know that you care about them,” said Annalise Estrada, a service scholar at Mercer.
Service Saturdays are held on the fourth Saturday of every month, and students can participate in the project of their choice.
Hannah Vann, the coordinator of community engagement, organizes the events and works with service scholars to coordinate a project in which they can use their talents to benefit others, Andrew Kelley, another Mercer service scholar, said.
The next Service Saturday will be held on Nov. 22, and the projects for that day include playground construction at Ingram Pye Elementary, school beautification with Communities in Schools at Hutchings Academy, Rebuilding Macon and Brave Meadows Therapeutic Riding Center.
Kelley is leading the project at Brave Meadows Therapeutic Riding Center, and he said that they would be painting barns and fences and helping the farm maintain the grounds to make it run more efficiently.
He said that he chose this project because his mother is an occupational therapist, so he was able to see the effect that therapy had on children. He did research on the subject of using horses for therapy and believed that he could use his talents to help the riding center.
“It’s such a blessing to give more than it is to receive… It’s a feeling unlike any other.”
Kelley also said that the center would be willing to give students a free horse ride for volunteering. The rides will be on a separate day than the Service Saturday, but it can be arranged with the owners, Kelley said.
Amanda Clark, a senior and resident assistant at Mercer, brought a new aspect to Service Saturdays, one that concerns the benefits it has for students.
“Not only does it show that Mercer really cares about the Macon community as a whole, it really helps Mercer students build up on their resumes.”
She continued to say that she began participating in Service Saturdays as a freshman, and it created a love for volunteering within her.
“I always advocate for Service Saturdays because it’s just a great way for Mercer students to realize that volunteering not only builds better leaders, but it just really makes you feel good about yourself.”
Estrada participated in a Service Saturday at which she and two other people pulled weeds from a garden and added more soil where it was needed. She said that she enjoyed getting to know the woman whom they were helping and that she would definitely be participating in more Service Saturdays.
Estrada explained that Service Saturdays were not all about work, but “you get to have fun at the same time, and it’s really rewarding to know that you’re making a difference.”
The last Service Saturday for this semester will be held on Nov. 22, but there will be more in the spring semester. They are scheduled for Jan. 24, Feb. 28, March 28 and April 25.