CSU volunteers roll up their
sleeves for Do-Gooder Day
The City Year 'PT,' or physical
training, team demonstrates moves for Do-Gooder
Day volunteers to follow. City Year engages in physical training twice
a week to
exhibit a sense of unity.
By Audrey McCrone
Optimistic thoughts that went Rain,
rain, stay away prevailed on April 19 for the fourth annual Do-Gooder
Weather reports predicted showers in the Greater Cleveland area for
around 2:00 p.m. But theyre usually off by two hours,
said Blake Almaguer, president of the Student Government Association
during the opening ceremony at the Urban Affairs Atrium.
Before volunteers grouped to depart for their respective sites, they
engaged in PT(physical training) led by four City Year volunteers.
They jumped around, swung arms and legs and rotated their upper torsos
like cheerleaders at a pep rally.
Volunteers were pumped for the work ahead, thanks to a continental breakfast
(bagels, pastries, coffee and juice, courtesy of the Center for Leadership
and Service, the SGA and City Year), groups of volunteers met near posted
City Year, SGA and Center for Leadership and Service people coordinated
with volunteers in small groups about how to get to their designated
places, figuring out who needed a ride and who drove to campus.
We have a partnership with City Year to do service, said
the Manager of the Center for Leadership and Service Paul Putnam.
Then each group circled up, hands piling on top of each
other in the center of the groups like a football teams huddle
and chant, for a spirit break.
The CSU Chapter of the Golden Key contributed two volunteers, including
yours truly, to the 70 CSU students who participated in the day of community
This Stater reporter was all set to get dirty by cleaning, mulching
and planting flower beds, painting a staircase, and possible work in
a residence garden, according to the Center for Leadership and
I was part of the Saint Augustine Health Campus team (one of six groups),
slated to work at Detroit Avenue and West 78 Street in Cleveland. The
CSU St. Augustine team followed the City Year St. Augustine team to
As we set out in my messy white Dodge Neon, I explained to fellow Golden
Keyer Courtney Zemkosky, a junior majoring in health sciences, and Debbie
Holman, a senior majoring in early childhood education, that I refuse
We joined our three City Year counterparts in the parking lot. We were
the first volunteers to arrive at St. Augustine Manor.
Director of Life Enrichment Laura Derose, who met us on the sidewalk,
said she expected 50 volunteers in total. She led us inside and up the
stairs and through a maze of hallways to a recreation room, explaining
along the way that, between the Home Family Home and the St. Augustine
Towers, the facility cares for almost 350 residents.
One of the City Year volunteers, who only identified herself as Sandy,
suggested that we outline the lettering of a banner that was laid out
on a long table, using black markers. The sign said Welcome City
Heroes, in yellow and red marker, which are the City Year colors.
Sandy said the City Heroes volunteers, area teenagers and adults, are
part of City Year, just as City Year is a part of AmeriCorps.
We also set up tables in a room where we would later eat lunch. Soon,
nearly 30 young people filed into the recreation room. Sandy said they
had to take the bus to get to the facility.
Derose picked 10 volunteers to go to the towers, so we were separated
into two groups. Everyone was instructed to go back downstairs and meet
in the front living room for a group picture.
A large, plastic trash can held rakes and brooms, and people bumped
into it as they passed through the entrance of the room to go outside.
So, I grabbed the handle and dragged it outside with me.
A little downtime and some confusion began to set in, as everyone stood
around on the sidewalk in front of the building.
No one was quite sure where they would be working, or where to start.
I asked Derose where Zemkosky, Holman and I could get started and she
pointed to the parking lot. She said to go through the fence, and that
would be where we should work.
The three of us grabbed rakes and a broom, and we headed through a security
gate and began to rake and sweep around a garden area that was under
Within 10 minutes, Derose came by and said she meant for us to go through
a gate further down the drive, and she led everyone in our group to
the lawn along the rear of the facility. She said that the house to
the left of us also belonged to the manor, too.
Everyone tried to get to raking and sweeping the lawn, but we didnt
have enough rakes, brooms and dustpans to go around. We had about 500
yards of lawn to clean up.
At one point, about a half an hour into my mad raking, I counted everyone
to see how many of us were actually working. Only five, including Zemkosky,
Holman and me, out of 16, were working. There was not enough equipment
to go around.
Holman and I exchanged frustrated glances as the City Heroes (teenagers)
laughed and carried on.
I grew physically and figuratively hot, wanting a drink of water and
a cigarette. I walked toward the parking lot to find my car, and I passed
Derose and her husband on the way. They need a pep talk,
I said, and Im going to get a smoke. Ill be right
Okay, she said.
I returned a few minutes later and found a cooler with a tap, and it
was filled with water, so I drank a cup of it. Then, I helped Zemkosky
bag two piles of leaves before reclaiming my rake and resuming my labor.
By lunchtime, our team was finished with the main part of the lawn we
were assigned to. All that was left was the lawn of the house the manor
For lunch, we had hotdogs, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chips,
cookies and sodas. Holman, Zemkosky, three City Heroes and I shared
a table, and our conversations lifted our spirits. Everyone seemed to
be in a better mood.
We finished the job 45 minutes earlier than our scheduled end time of
2:30 p.m. Everyone circled up, and then we returned to the room where
we ate lunch for our closing ceremony.
I drove Holman and Zemkosky back to the campus area. Holman said she
was used to doing yard work. Zemkosky said she would like to volunteer
Well, as for me, its just another volunteer service. But I met
some nice people.
Reach this Stater reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org