On Saturday, October 13, Enumclaw will be one of only nine cities across the country participating in a movement in which the goal is "one million kids all over the country working together for the same cause."
The name of that cause is The Big Day of Serving (www.thebigdayofserving.com), and its intent is to bring youth groups together for one day of service that will benefit the community.
At present, organizers in Enumclaw have two projects lined up for the day: painting and sprucing up the J.J. Smith Elementary property as well as the .
The former school property still houses several businesses and could use some cleaning and upkeeping, and the running track on the grounds is in need of maintenance as well, said Sara Hardersen, who is overseeing public relations for the local effort.
The hope is that with improvements, the public will come to use the track more, she said. All materials and supplies used for the project at J.J. Smith will be provided by the , with the exception of any professional-grade materials that might be needed to renovate the track, Hardersen said.
And that is the other element of the 'Big Day' that Hardersen stresses is essential for the success of the youth-focused event: community support and business participation in the form of whatever resources they can provide, including funding, materials and expertise on the identified projects.
Over at the Senior Center, the project doesn't end with just the building. There are also plans to put together and deliver care packages to local seniors in the Enumclaw area as well, Hardersen said.
These will include assorted stationery supplies after the group consulted with Senior Center Manager Jobyna Nickum for ideas of what to include. "It's just something to brighten their day," Hardersen said.
Said the Big Day of Serving's Facebook page of this particular project: "Our hope is to provide an avenue for youth and seniors to connect and enjoy each other's company."
A Servant's Heart
The national event originated as an effort to promote service by Christian youth, and its introduction to Enumclaw came through a similar path in the form of Brook Hickle, the community director who is also a leader at Enumclaw's , said Hardersen.
This year is the first time that Enumclaw has been involved, and the effort is likened to an introduction to missionary work or a way to keep youth focused on developing "a servant's heart," said the local group's Facebook page.
Hardersen explained that for most youth groups who are planning a mission trip, the effort is long and involves a lot of money and fundraising. Participating in the Big Day, however, is a one-day commitment and a low-cost way to also do the work involved in a lot of mission trips which is to serve and make an impact in Christ's name.
Despite its religious origins, the Big Day is open to all who have a desire to give to the community, she said.
And while Enumclaw may not have the population density or some of the urban issues that other cities present to their respective Big Day volunteers, "there are a lot of people that are in need here too," Hardersen said. "We're not re-doing a structure, but there are people who could really use the love and could use the support."
Participation in the Big Day requires that every person is registered as part of a group or organization. You can do so online or by mail. Click here for more information.
Sign up by September 13 and your cost is $29 per person. After September 13, the cost increases to $40 per person. The funds generated help to cover the costs of the event, Hardersen said.
Organizers hope for a 300 to 500 target attendance. According to Facebook, a number of youth groups have already committed including , Wabash Presbyterian Youth and .
Schedule of Events on October 13
- 7:00 a.m. Participants Check in
- 8:00 a.m. Kickoff Rally!
- 8:30 a.m. Depart for projects
- 12:00 p.m. Lunch and devotions at project sites
- 3:00 p.m Block Party Celebration
- 4:30 p.m. Depart for home - A job well done
For more information or to learn how you can help, contact your Big Day of Serving Enumclaw Crew:
- Brook Hickle - Community Director - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Renae Hanson - Hospitality Co-Leader - email@example.com
- Darami Coulter - Funding Expert - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Deanna Olney - Neighbors In Need Project Coordinator - email@example.com
- Sara Hardersen - Public Relations Leader - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sarah Collins - Funding Leader - email@example.com
- Rene' Popke - Event Management Leader - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Shannon Poulin - Hospitality Co-Leader - email@example.com
- Jaclyn VanHoof - Volunteer and Projects Leader - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kris Acres - Funding Team - email@example.com