More than one thousand volunteers dressed in white “Live United” shirts gathered at LaVell Edwards Stadium Thursday morning to kick off the 15th annual United Way Day of Caring.
Volunteers from 27 local organizations, including 250 from BYU, were on hand to provide more than 5,200 hours of service to 24 locations around Utah County.
Most of the projects focused on education, with many volunteers working with students inside the classroom.
“It’s exciting to see so many community volunteers and organizations uniting to increase children’s readiness for the future by focusing on education,” said Bill Hulterstrom, CEO of United Way of Utah County.
The event began at 7:30 a.m. with a pancake breakfast served by community leaders, including BYU President Cecil O. Samuelson. Following a brief opening ceremony volunteers headed out in droves to locations around Utah County to serve for the morning.
Third year volunteer Scott Arnold’s said he looks forward to serving. His past experiences include repairing a home and cleaning the windows of Windsor Elementary and this year’s agenda is headed back to Windsor to help out.
“I really like doing it,” he said. “It’s fun to see this many people come together to help the community. Every year my boss sets it up on our calendar if we want to go and I say oh yeah, I’m doing that again.”
Volunteers at Sunset Valley, including about 70 students from the Romney Institute who had class cancelled, read with the school’s 450 students while showing them the application of literacy principles in their own lives.
It’s really good to see so many volunteers come out and put so much time in for our kids,” said Clint Smith, principal of Sunset Valley Elementary. “This gives kids an idea of what service is.”
The event made touched everyone involved, especially the volunteers.
“I was so impressed,” said Anna Gong, an MPA student from Beijing, China. “We are from a different country and we are here to experience the culture. This was such a great opportunity, we were very impressed by the opportunity to give service.”
The event also served as a kick-off for the United Way’s 50th anniversary celebration.