Flagler College students Reach Out with day of community service
In what has become a tradition each semester at Flagler College, more than 200 students, along with faculty, staff and alumni, gave back to the local community on Feb. 17 by working with area non-profits in what amounted to 900 hours of service.
Reach Out Raise Up Day of Service is a student-led initiative by the Flagler organization FC Volunteers. The group aims to provide members of the Flagler community opportunities to engage in meaningful volunteer opportunities in St. Johns County and beyond. This year’s event was planned to coincide with a week of activities celebrating the inauguration of new Flagler President Joseph G. Joyner, who took office in July 2017.
The community service day benefitted 14 local nonprofit organizations ranging from the Council on Aging to wildlife rehabilitation center HAWKE. Students also packaged more than 20,000 meals of lentil jambalaya for the organization Feeding Children Everywhere.
Reach Out Director Alex Quinones said the Orlando-based organization brought the supplies for the meal-packaging event that took place on campus. “We had the 20,000 meals donated to St. Johns Ecumenical Ministry, a local food pantry in St. Augustine,” he said.
Quinones said service days have become a way to reach out to the community, as well as create experiential learning opportunities for students as a way to better understand the importance of giving back.
For Quinones, a Flagler senior accounting major, this marks his final community service day after helping launch the program in 2016.
“Being my last Day of Service, I couldn't have asked for a better way to leave this school,” he said. “The fact that we were able to get about 10 percent of our school’s population to come to campus on a Saturday morning to volunteer is incredible. Words can't describe how grateful I am to be able to give our campus an opportunity to make a difference in our community.”
Organizations taking part in this year’s Reach Out included: Feeding Children Everywhere, the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum, Council On Aging, St. Augustine Wildlife Reserve, Home Again St. Johns, the St. Johns County Parks and Recreation Department, Alpha Omega Miracle Home, the Betty Griffin Center, SAFE Pet Rescue, Horse Haven Ranch, Sertoma 2nd Time Around Store, the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, HAWKE, the Humane Association of Wildlife Care and Education and the St. Augustine Center for Living.