‘Best turnout ever’ expected for Students of Service finale

In this 2010 file photo, Joshua Harvey, a UMSL junior majoring in biology, cleans up brush at a home in Pagedale owned by Beyond Housing. Harvey volunteered through Students of Service. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Kay Gasen hopes to arm a veritable army of volunteers April 28 with paint brushes, shovels and rakes to plant a community garden, paint houses and generally make life a little better for people living in the Normandy (Mo.) School District.

Gasen, principal investigator for a $420,000 federal grant project at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, is winding down a three-year project that addresses critical housing and education issues in UMSL’s neighboring communities. Funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, more than 1,400 UMSL students have logged over 23,000 hours of volunteer work over the three years.

UMSL’s Students of Service project is a winner on every level, Gasen said.

“Our students have done an amazing job so far. I know we can get our best volunteer turnout ever on April 28,” she said. “UMSL’s Students of Service project and our collaboration with Beyond Housing’s 24:1 initiative, the Normandy School District and other community partners has had a significant impact on our campus and the community we serve. We value the rich learning and service opportunities for our students. And the grant has allowed us to connect UMSL resources with key issues and priorities in our local communities.”

Beyond Housing’s 24:1 initiative, which has benefited from the grant, addresses the needs of underserved families living in the 24 municipalities that encompass the Normandy School District.

Gasen is encouraging the entire UMSL community – faculty, students, staff and alumni – to participate in this last major volunteer effort. UMSL’s Student Government Association has combined its year-end volunteer effort, The Big Event, with the April 28 event. And UMSL’s neighbors living in the designated 24 municipalities, also are invited to volunteer

Volunteer check-in will begin at 8 a.m. April 28 in the Millennium Student Center on UMSL’s North Campus. Volunteers will work until 11:30 a.m. and return to UMSL for a celebration barbecue at the MSC. The Girls Inc. Step Team and the Normandy High School Jazz Band will perform.

Volunteers can still register on line at www.bit.ly/service2012. For more information call Gasen at 314-516-5269.







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