Community Service Day
On Friday Nov 6, the Leadership Modesto Class boarded a bus for Community Service Day. We toured five local nonprofits and visited a senior center in an effort to broaden our horizons with regard to community service in Modesto.
We began our day with a tour of the Modesto Gospel Mission which has been providing refuge, recovery, and restoration to people in Stanislaus County for over 65 years. Open 365 days a year to assist those in need, Executive Director Kevin Carroll shared that their goal is to help break the cycle of homelessness. We then walked across the street to Interfaith Ministries where they were holding their Blacktop Bargain Sale. This sale happens the first Friday of each month to raise funds for the organization’s food pantry. The CEO, Elizabeth Greenlee-Harrison then shared about their Free Mobile Farmer’s Market which provides fresh fruits and vegetables to low-income neighborhoods where such items are not readily available.
The group then traveled to Howard Training Center where Carla Strong, the Executive Director, shared with us how they serve the differently-abled individuals in our community. From personal and social training day classes to employment training in multiple areas, they are teaching people to soar. We enjoyed a delicious lunch prepared by their residents; an example of one of 20,489 meals prepared on site in October alone!
Our next stop was a presentation from Without Permission’s CEO Debbie Johnson. Without Permission has been educating people in the Central Valley on the issue of human trafficking since 2010. Once victims of human trafficking have been identified, Without Permission staff goes to work by helping to restore those individuals. The wonderful work that this organization is doing is in direct response to a need in our community, which was eye-opening for many of us.
The last two stops of the day shifted our group out of learning about community service and allowed us to start giving back, ourselves. Stop #1 was at our local Senior Center, which assists seniors with technology challenges. It is not surprising to learn that seniors can struggle with the ever-changing nature of technology. We were able to help program phones, explain apps and teach them to transfer photos from their cameras to their laptops. While we gave of our time, they shared their stories and touched our hearts. Our final stop took us to one of the Boys and Girls Club sites in Stanislaus County. We were welcomed into the program by student ambassadors who directed us to our groups for the day. There were obstacle courses, homework hour, some very serious ping pong games and a lot of laughter! Their Director of Operations, Sarah Bautista, spent some time educating us on their programs, which are directed to empower youth in reaching their fullest potential.
Community Service Day was an incredible opportunity for the class to learn about the various areas of important work being done in our community, and provided us with a better idea of how we as leaders can give back to this city we all love so much. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “everybody can be great because everybody can serve.” We encourage all of you to go serve this holiday season!
By Sarah Jamieson, United Way, VP of Fund Development