In its 25th anniversary year, Service Raleigh returned to an entirely in-person format, bringing together more than 700 volunteers for a day of service at 80 sites throughout the Triangle.
Service Raleigh is an annual citywide day of service led jointly by five Park Scholar and Goodnight Scholar co-chairs. The NC State tradition began 25 years ago as a collaboration between Park Scholars in the Class of 2000 and members of student government. Each year, Service Raleigh leads to the coordination of thousands of hours of community service that benefit people and organizations throughout the Triangle.
This year’s event took place on Saturday, April 9. After the 2020 event was canceled due to the pandemic and the 2021 event was limited to virtual and outdoor activities, organizers expressed great enthusiasm for returning to the original event format with a kickoff ceremony in Talley Student Union and all in-person service sites. The event started with an inspiring message on the power of community from Hilburn Academy Principal Mariah Walker, this year’s featured speaker.
“Having all service opportunities back in person was a really important part of this year’s Service Raleigh event,” explained Sarah Hartsell ’22, one of two Park Scholar co-chairs of Service Raleigh 2022. “I think that many students are still trying to find ways to get more connected to campus and the larger Raleigh community post-pandemic, and the in-person service projects are a great way to make friends and find new places to regularly volunteer.”
As part of their Class Legacy Project, the Park Scholars in the Class of 2022 built two community gardens to serve under-resourced families. They had spent the year fundraising for this project, which was developed in coordination with the Interfaith Food Shuttle.
“Being able to share our service and passions in person with the volunteers was very rewarding,” said Shaily Shah ’22, the other Park Scholar who also served as a co-chair of the 2022 event. “It’s great to see people from all ages, as well as students from NC State, come together to make such an amazing impact!”
While the event is firmly rooted at NC State, it brings together volunteers from all over the Triangle. Groups of friends, families, coworkers, religious organizations, professional networks, social clubs, and more, all interested in supporting the community, dedicated hours of their day to bettering their communities and activities that included caring for animals at rescue centers, cleaning up streams, tending community gardens, painting playground equipment, and more.
During this milestone year, the impact of Service Raleigh stretched beyond the Triangle. A group of NC State alumni in Washington, D.C., were inspired to organize a satellite event and coordinate a day of service in Rock Creek Park.
Service is one of the core pillars of the Park Scholarships program. In just a few hours on a Saturday morning, the work of 708 volunteers produced dramatic results to benefit the Triangle. This impact would not be possible without the leadership of the 40 students serving on the Service Raleigh planning committee and 55 site leaders who fan out around the community to lead each team of volunteers.
Service Raleigh will return on April 1, 2023. The deadlines to register as a partner site that hosts volunteers, a site leader, or a volunteer typically fall in March. Visit www.serviceraleigh.org for more information.