Mason Second Saturdays Program Focuses on Volunteering

Posted: February 23, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Christopher Anzalone

Last summer, George Mason’s Center for Service and Leadership hammered out the logistics for what would become Mason Second Saturdays, a program designed to encourage the university community to participate actively in a variety of charitable projects. The program, which was the brainchild of Associate Director Heather Hare, was initiated on Sept. 11.

“Second Saturdays responds to the growing interest of George Mason students in volunteer involvement, with consideration of their busy schedules,” says Hare. “We hope that the one-time projects will promote ongoing involvement in community improvement that extends beyond their time at the university.”

The program was launched with substantial logistical assistance from Nikkia Anderson, the center’s program coordinator and office manager. “Second Saturdays is truly a collaborative effort,” says Lynn Leavitt, the center’s director.

Currently, participants interact with residents at the Inova Commonwealth Care Center, an assisted living facility in Fairfax, where they join in activities such as bingo. Other projects include sorting clothing donated to Yesterday’s Rose Thrift Shop, refurbishing rooms at the Main Street Child Development Center, providing assistance at the Capital Area Food Bank, and gardening and working on art projects with residents at Goodwin House, another assisted living facility in Alexandria.

Mason Second Saturdays will continue to expand in its scope and focus during the near future. “In April, we will focus on outdoor and environmental projects,” says Hare. “We are planning to work with a local library cleaning up their community garden, we will return to Goodwin House to work alongside residents in their garden, and we will work with the Fairfax County Park Authority on a clean-up project.”

“I think Second Saturdays will continue to grow and become more popular with George Mason students,” says Leavitt. “The projects are structured to take only a few hours on the Second Saturday of each month, so students are not committing their entire day. Still, they are making an impact in the surrounding community.”

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