Madison House hosted its annual Legacy of Service event on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon earlier this month at the Colonnade Club at the University of Virginia. Students, supporters, community partners, board members, and staff enjoyed refreshments from Harvest Moon Catering while a student jazz duo performed.
The 2015 Community Partner of the Year award was presented by Executive Director Tim Freilich to Sharon Wood, the Volunteer Coordinator at Stone-Robinson Elementary School. Last year more than 700 Madison House volunteers devoted more than 10,000 hours working with kids in local schools. Volunteers serve primarily as tutors and classroom assistants in partnership with nearly 100 community partners, including Sharon.
Sharon was described by the Madison House volunteer who nominated her as “… easily the nicest and sweetest person I have met in my two years at the University of Virginia. She is always excited to meet and brainstorm ideas about how we can better the program. She also welcomes every volunteer with a smile and spreads positiveenergy wherever she goes. There is no person better for this award, and I truly feel she not only makes my job the easiest and most enjoyable in the world, but spreads her kindness, passion and love to every volunteer, teacher and student that she comes in contact with.”
Sharon has had a long and impressive career in the local school system. She been a teaching assistant, a substitute teacher, and the PTO president as well as serving for for nine years on the Albemarle County School Board. For the past six years, she has been the Volunteer Coordinator at Stone-Robinson Elementary School.
Congratulations to Sharon on this wonderful recognition as the 2015 Community Partner of the Year! To see more photos from the 2015 Legacy of Service event, please click here.
The Big Event took place this past Saturday and was a huge success! Through Madison House, several hundred University of Virginia students joined 110 institutions of higher education for the largest day of community service nationwide for college students.
Students got up early to gather for a kickoff event in front the John Paul Jones Arena before spreading out to 25 different volunteer sites across Charlottesville. You can see more photos of the kickoff event here.
Many organizations in the local community that help local residents in need have a wish list of projects and volunteers from The Big Event jumped in to complete those projects. For example, volunteers for The Big Event took on tasks such as painting at the Piedmont Family YMCA and picking up litter with the Rivanna Trails Foundation. You can even see ‘Hoos helping out the Rockfish Valley Community Foundation with an excavation project thanks to NBC-29 WVIR here!
Because all of Madison House’s other volunteer opportunities require a weekly commitment, The Big Event was a great way for students to give back to the community even if you don’t have room in your schedule for a weekly commitment. This year marks the inaugural The Big Event at Madison House and included a collaboration with Relay for Life at UVA, which was highlighted by The Cavalier Daily in this article titled “Service Never Sleeps.”
We received great feedback from the community organizations that partnered with Madison House for The Big Event, too.
Check out more photos of volunteers in action from The Big Event here!
The Big Siblings program is a chance for a Madison House volunteer to have an impact on the life of a child who is in need of more positive relationships. During the year-long commitment the volunteer spends two hours per week with a child. The Big Siblings program has over 200 University of Virginia volunteers.
Bridging the Gap is a similar program for refugee children in Charlottesville in partnership with the local branch of the International Rescue Committee. The two programs collaborate on large events for their mentees several times a year.
To apply for the Big Siblings program, click here!
To apply for the Bridging the Gap program, click here!
Come on out to “Putt for a Purpose” on Sunday, April 12 and play a round of putt putt golf to benefit the Big Siblings program at Madison House! Enjoy pizza, snow cones, and beverages while competing for fun prizes. This is event is open to the public and registration costs $10. Click here to learn more!
Looking for a way to give back after The Big Event this Saturday! Then be part of “The Little Event”, a fun night of trivia benefitting Madison House. Bring a team of 3-7 of your closest trivia-minded friends or colleagues to Eddy’s Tavern on Tuesday, April 14 from 7:00-9:00pm and compete against the brightest minds at UVA for bragging rights and fun prizes! Click here to find out more and register.
Because of this generous support, HELPLine volunteers will receive training from the Sexual Assault Resource Agency (SARA). HELPLine is a 24/7 anonymous and confidential listening hotline for the University of Virginia community. The program is staffed by trained UVA students and operates during the academic year. In regards to the expectations of volunteers when they receive a call; the students serve as nonjudgmental listeners and use active listening and non-directive actions to guide callers to the most appropriate resources.
(Image credit: U.Va. Parents Fund & Committee)
It might surprise some people in Charlottesville to learn to that over 1 in 10 people in the Blue Ridge region cannot take their next meal for granted. Founded in 1981, the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank (BRAFB) is the largest organization alleviating hunger in Western and Central Virginia. BRAFB is an emergency food assistance agency that serves more than 114,000 people each month through a network of 234 food pantries, soup kitchens, schools, churches and nonprofit groups. Last year, BRAFB distributed 18 million meals across the Blue Ridge to the most vulnerable in our community: children, the elderly, struggling families, the working poor, people with disabilities and the homeless.
Volunteering through Madison House helps build a bridge between the University community and the wider Charlottesville community. Sara Surface, a member of the Class of 2016 at the University of Virginia studying Global Development Studies & Women, Gender, and Sexuality, is the Madison House program director for BRAFB. Sara says, “I began volunteering at the Food Bank my first year because I wanted to become more involved with service in the Charlottesville community. I had heard a lot about the ‘UVA bubble’ and wanted to do my best to break it down. Even now, I continue to see the ways that UVA students are unexposed to the hardships facing the community around us. Being a program director has given me the opportunity to help others to break down this barrier in their lives, as well.”
Anna, a second year student at the University majoring in Economics and Media Studies, offers her perspective: “Volunteering with BRAFB is meaningful to me because it puts things in perspective to see that even small things can go a long way. One day a woman came in and mentioned that she needed food for her kids, so we threw a couple extra juice boxes and more kid friendly snacks into the bags. When the woman noticed this gesture she was so thankful. The people who come to the food bank don’t have many other options and it is humbling to see them have the courage to ask for help. Even if we are just sorting food or arranging bags, all of the work at the BRAFB is necessary in order to give as many people as possible the quality help they deserve.”
Madison House simultaneously builds up the capacity of local organizations and provides meaningful service opportunities for University of Virginia students. Joe, the branch manager at the Charlottesville distribution center for BRAFB, says “I particularly like the “can do” spirit Madison House volunteers bring to the Food Bank; they are up for any task, and once accomplishing those tasks, they are eager for more. Keeping in mind that volunteers contribute 90% of the work that is require to run the BRAFB, Madison House volunteers are vital in helping us help those in need in our community. Madison House volunteers help individuals directly through our PIN program (People In Need), and they sort and salvage food that goes directly to individuals and families in need throughout our entire service area.”
by Tim Freilich, Executive Director
My name is Tim Freilich, and I’m the new Executive Director at Madison House. You probably already know that our recipe for success includes student leadership, lifelong service and community.
But let me show you how those ingredients come together at one of Madison House’s most innovative community partners, the PB&J Fund.
When I met last week with Executive Director Emily Wampler, she shared the PB&J Fund’s mission: to connect Charlottesville youth with the resources and knowledge necessary to help develop a healthy diet. She gave me a quick tour of their color-coded, kid-friendly kitchen, and soon, five Madison House volunteers arrived–just in time.
Minutes later, twenty-one super-excited pre-teens came in, washed their hands, donned aprons, and learned that they would be making Turkey Nachos with Fresh Market Salsa.
Another of Madison House’s great community partners, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Virginia, brought the kids to the kitchen.
The photos give you a taste of just how perfectly this delicious three-way non-profit partnership works. The kids from the Boys and Girls Clubs are having a great time learning to cook healthy foods. The amazing staff members at the PB&J Fund are teaching far more kids than they could without the assistance of Madison House volunteers. And our Madison House volunteers are leading groups while both learning and teaching a basic life skill—how to make a mean (and healthy) plate of nachos!
To get the full flavor of Madison House’s impact on the community though, you need one more morsel of information. PB&J Fund’s Executive Director Emily Wampler—the one stirring this whole big steaming pot of non-profit collaboration for the benefit of kids in the community—Emily is herself a former Madison House volunteer. Tasty!
Madison House is proud to introduce the new Head Program Directors for 2015-2016! These University of Virginia students were chosen by their peers as the Head Program Directors for next year through a competitive selection process to lead one of Madison House’s nineteen volunteer service programs:
Have you heard about The Big Event? This year, University of Virginia students through Madison House will join over 110 institutions of higher education in the largest day of community service nationwide for college students: The Big Event on Saturday, April 11th from 9:00am until 1:00pm.
This year marks the inaugural The Big Event (formerly Cavs Care) at Madison House. It’s a day where hundreds of members of the University of Virginia community will come together to say thank you to individuals and organizations that support Madison House and UVA students through acts of service throughout Charlottesville.
Many organizations in the local community that help local residents in need have a wish list of projects and volunteers from The Big Event will be jumping in to complete those projects.
Because all of Madison House’s other volunteer opportunities require a weekly commitment, The Big Event is a great way for students to give back to the community even if you don’t have room in your schedule for a weekly commitment.
For Community Partners: If you are affiliated with a local organization, church, or community center that could benefit from this one-day opportunity to use volunteers for those “wish-list” items that need doing but never quite seem to get done, we ask that you fill out this form as soon as possible and encourage you to be as specific as possible in your request. Click here to apply!
For Site Leader Volunteers: Any UVA student can apply to be a Site Leader for The Big Event. The deadline is March 6th. Click here to apply!
For Day-of Volunteers: The Big Event is open to all UVA students (not only current Madison House volunteers). You can even represent an organization at UVA when you volunteer. The deadline is March 29th. Click here to apply!
Want to learn more? Madison House volunteer Jessica Blusiewicz recently spoke with Soundboard, WTJU 91.1 FM’s discussion program about news, culture, and community issues in the Charlottesville area and offered a preview of what to expect from The Big Event. Click here to listen!
To learn more about The Big Event, please click here.
The UVA Parents Committee has generously awarded Madison House with a $20,000 grant to support all 19 of our student-led volunteer programs during this academic year. The mission of the UVA Parents Committee is to enhance the student experience for all UVA undergraduate students.
We are so thankful for their support of the thousands of University of Virginia students who volunteer through Madison House every week and we would like to thank all of the parents who donated to the Parents Fund for making this grant possible.