Oct. 10-23, 2003
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Digest — U.Va. News Daily

Headlines @ U.Va.
‘In the Presence’ offers new look at Civil War
Music graduate students reach out to peers
16th annual Virginia Film Festival will show you the Money
Board opens housing discussion
New health plan offers options
Faculty Actions from the October BOV meeting
U.Va. endowment performance second in nation
Werhane to receive Women’s Center Zintl Award
Board approves moving Varsity Hall
International scholars to discuss religion, justice and violence
Civil Rights leader Dorothy Height to Speak Oct. 10
From reading to painting, volunteers reach out during Day of Caring

From reading to painting, volunteers reach out during Day of Caring

Megan Raymond
Photos by Andrew Shurtleff
Megan Raymond (top photo) of the provost's office, and Terry Dade (bottom photo) of the student affairs division,
help students at Clark Elementary write letters to service personnel overseas.

By Matt Kelly

Dr. Arthur “Tim” Garson, wearing a tan U.Va. T-shirt, was relaxed as he sat in front of Thomas Stargell’s eighth-grade classroom at the Walton Middle School and talked about reading.

Garson, vice president and dean of the School of Medicine, discussed the practicality of reading, such as deciphering the road signs to find the school, as well as the joy of it, such as how he looked forward to reading a novel on Sunday afternoons. He brought one of his favorite books, Betty Smith’s “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” to introduce to the students.

“It’s a great story about children who don’t have perfect health care,” he said.
Garson’s colleague, Dr. Sharon L. Hostler, associate dean for development at the School of Medicine, enlisted students to help her read from “The Tenth Good Thing About Barney,” by Judith Viorst, a story about a funeral for a cat. She also read about the death of her own grandfather, from a book she is writing.

“I love to read,” she said after her session. “I think books are the most important things in kids’ lives. I love the beauty of the language.”

Garson and Hostler were among the 368 volunteers from the University who donated their time and labor on Sept. 24 to 46 projects for 27 community agencies and schools as part of the 12th annual United Way Laurence E. Richardson Day of Caring. Work ranged from building sandboxes to reading to children to cleaning up hurricane damage.

“It’s a community service,” said Wayne H. Harlow, who works for Facilities Management’s renovations division at Alderman Road. Harlow’s crew unpacked their tools at Westminster Child Care Center at 190 Rugby Road to build two sandboxes, repair and paint a fence and spread mulch.

“It’s a chance to do some construction for the community,” Harlow said. “I like working around children because they need all the help they can get. They need a good example to show them caring and humanity.”

Vice President and Provost Gene Block (above) meets with Walton Middle School students before delivering a science lecture.
Photo by Andrew Shurtleff
Vice President and Provost Gene Block (above) meets with Walton Middle School students before delivering a science lecture.

Volunteers engaged the other end of the population as well. A team from the School of Architecture led a group of senior citizens in games and activities.

“They were able to take them back to childhood,” said Wanda F. Cabell, site supervisor of the Mary Williams Senior Center on East Market Street. “They could reminisce, compete and win prizes using their motor skills and their minds.”

Derry V. Wade, director of publications at the School of Architecture and volunteer team leader, thought it wonderful of the University to sponsor a day when the employees could participate in the community, especially with people they might not ordinarily meet. She also said it was also a good opportunity to work in a different way with people she knows from her job.

“I really enjoyed meeting them and seeing their reactions to the games,” Wade said as she scooped ice cream for the seniors.

Volunteers provided benefits to the agencies as well as the clients they serve.
“They’re doing a job that has needed to be done for two years and we couldn’t afford,” said Chris S. Eure, executive director for Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic on Millmont Street. “This is work that is usually done by our volunteers, but you don’t want to pull a reading volunteer from reading a book to a child to do this kind of work.”

Architecture School employees (above) Tiffani A. McGee (rear) and Derry V. Wade scoop ice cream to serve to senior citizens at the Mary Williams Senior Center.
Photo by Matt Kelly
Architecture School employees (above) Tiffani A. McGee (rear) and Derry V. Wade scoop ice cream to serve to senior citizens at the Mary Williams Senior Center.

A team of eight people from Housing Division’s Conference Services and two women from Housekeeping cleaned the recording services’ parking lot, power-washed its handicapped ramp and brick wall.

“It’s a nice break from our jobs,” said team leader Sheri N. States, director of Conference Services. “This is an immediate reward. At work, we plan nine months in advance for something. And they are so gracious, giving us refreshments and everything. This is a win-win for everybody.”

“I’ve been doing this since the hurricane anyway,” M. Kenneth Treadway, assistant director of conference services, said as he shoveled up debris in the parking lot. “It’s nice to do it in a yard other than my own.”

Jan Sievers Mahon, horticultural therapy coordinator at the Jefferson Area Board of Aging’s Hillside Drive facility, was pleased with the Darden School volunteers who weeded, mulched and repotted plants at the center’s therapy garden. The garden is used by Alzheimer’s patients, stroke recovery patients and others who benefit from quiet time with nature.

“We rely on community support for the upkeep of the gardens,” Mahon said. By keeping services like the therapy garden available, she said volunteers are helping seniors remain independent.

Volunteer team leader Gayle G. Noble, an administrative assistant at the Batten Institute at Darden, said she has volunteered for years and enjoyed forming a team from the business school.

“[The agencies] make it easy to help them,” she said, adding that it helps the volunteers get to know each other. “It was fun to meet other people from Darden.”
Garson, who hoped his enthusiasm for reading would spread, said the volunteers’ involvement was important.

“I found the experience emphasizes that there is so much we can do for the community if we are willing to devote personal time,” Garson said. “It was highly enjoyable.”


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