Volunteers sought for Big Day of Serving

MANISTEE COUNTY — The results of a single day of service can last weeks, months or even years into the future.

And on June 9, the community will make a positive mark on Manistee County by participating in the “Big Day of Serving,” presented by the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program’s Class of 2018.

“It’s a single day, so it’s not a huge time commitment,” said Robert Carpenter, member of the leadership team, “but it’s a good excuse for people to get out and serve. We’re hoping this will be a good community builder.”

The Big Day of Serving brings local businesses, organizations and community members together to complete a wide variety of volunteer projects across the county. In the morning, participants will set out to their assigned project — from the pool of many — and upon completion will convene at the Armory Youth Project (555 First St. in Manistee) for a celebratory dinner.

“We’re working to serve in areas all over the county,” Carpenter said. “So far, we have 25 different projects that have been submitted. They range from cleaning up areas like Lighthouse Park and Manistee Lake, various painting jobs, and just a lot of little projects at veterans’ or seniors’ homes — cleaning windows, gutters, garages or basic yard work.”

Organizers of the event are asking interested volunteers to register by Friday, which can be done by visiting either armoryyouthproject.com or manisteechamber.com. Carpenter said registration by the deadline is encouraged for organizational purposes, but volunteer sign-ups will continue to be welcome until the day of the event.

Volunteers may sign up to serve as an individual or as a group, while all ages are welcome to participate, from children to adults. Volunteers will be assigned to service locations/project based on need and skill level of the participant.

“Children, students, adults. It doesn’t matter the age,” Carpenter said. “We’ll assign you to the appropriate projects.

“Childcare is also available if needed,” he added. “Next Generation Learning Center has agreed to donate its services that day, so they’ll be able to provide childcare for up to 91 children for the day.”

A $10 registration fee per person is associated with participation, which helps cover the cost of project materials and includes a T-shirt and dinner for volunteers.

Carpenter said Friday is also the deadline for project suggestions.

Organizers are seeking ideas for projects big or small, ranging anywhere from helping a senior with home projects, cleaning/repair work to parks or public gardens, spring cleaning at a local nonprofit, or bringing a meal to families with illness. There is no required donation or fee for suggesting these service project ideas.

The leadership team is also encouraging businesses and team sponsors to support the volunteers. Donations raised for teams’ volunteer hours will go toward service project supplies as well as support the Armory Youth Project’s free after-school programming for area youth.

Each year, the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program teams together local leaders for a nine-month enrollment dedicated to the development of leadership skills through education, awareness and networking relationships.

During the course of that time frame, the group meets for eight full-day sessions designed to showcase many areas of the local community and provide opportunities to meet current community leaders, identify trends, challenges and issues facing the Manistee County area with the goal of becoming future community leaders who anticipate change and act decisively.

Another big part of the leadership program is the group’s community project.

The current class — the third annual team for Manistee’s chamber — listened to six pitches for community projects in September and ultimately selected the Big Day of Serving, pitched by their own team member, Carpenter, who is also the director of the Armory Youth Project.

This year’s leadership team consists of Carpenter; Gabrielle Werth (Edward Jones); Andrew Gentile (Little River Casino Resort); David Walsh (Packaging Corporation of America); Roger Vasquez (Republic Services); Kris Ivester (West Shore Community College); Katie Revolt (West Shore Bank); Michael McCann (City of Manistee); Holly Karlsen (Next Generation Learning Center); Lindsay Hoeflinger (Manistee United Methodist Church); Jacqueline Harms (Packaging Corporation of America); Brooke McIsaac (Manistee Intermediate School District); and Alex Callaway (Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital).

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Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or dsavela@pioneergroup.com.

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