More than 100 Flagler College community members volunteered with nonprofit organizations across the county during a “Reach Out Raise Up” day of service recently, helping local organizations by completing a range of tasks from landscaping to cleaning debris along Vilano Beach.
The event marked the college’s second day of service, with an inaugural “Reach Out Raise Up” held in February. Timothy Mellon, Flagler director of student services, helped oversee the day’s operations.
“St. Augustine is a tight knit community that has recently been strengthened even more since Hurricane Matthew,” he said. “It makes me proud to see the amazing relationship between our Flagler students and our city.”
The St. Augustine Center for Living, Haven Horse Ranch, Alpha Omega Miracle Home, Betty Griffin Center, United Way of St. Johns County, St. Francis House, Council on Aging, St. Augustine Youth Services, St. Johns Parks and Recreation, St. Augustine Wildlife Reserve and Sertoma 2nd Time Around were among the organizations Flagler students helped. The experience was heralded by participants as “uplifting.”
“I’ve done community service in the past and really enjoyed it,” said student Max Dela Merced. “It just gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling at the end of the day.”
Fellow student Katie Kelderman agreed, adding that volunteering on the college’s day of service better connected her to the greater community.
“It’s a great way to introduce students to places in the community – to be involved and volunteer, instead of just living here,” she said.
The students made their presence known around the city. At St. Francis House, a homeless shelter in downtown St. Augustine, students helped restock the food pantry.
Political science major Colton Neubauer joined six other students in unloading food items and organizing the food supply.
“It’s rewarding to do this – extremely rewarding,” he said. “And it gives me hope in my fellow Flagler students when they’re up and at the student center at 8 a.m. to volunteer to help others.”