United Way's Day of Caring Supports Louisa Schools
Thousands of volunteers are taking a day off work to work even harder helping their neighbors in central Virginia. The United Way's Day of Caring continues to support schools and nonprofits in Louisa County as they rebuild from last year's earthquake.
The United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area sent 2,300 volunteers to complete 234 projects across central Virginia. These are repairs and sprucing up that probably wouldn't get done, or would take a lot longer. Louisa County schools know that all too well.
Janet Hollis and her team are exploring. She said, "We didn't know at first, but we're learning this is called geocaching."
They're trekking and tracking GPS coordinates to create a sort of treasure hunt on the trail around Jouett Elementary School in Louisa County.
"It's very rewarding," said Liz Smith with the University of Virginia Physicians Group. "We're out helping the community, helping the children and in their learning processes."
It's a project a teacher put on the back burner. "After the earthquake occurred, he didn't have time to come out and do that," UVA volunteer coordinator Angela Durrett. "So, we're glad to be able to come out and help him with that."
These UVA Physicians Group workers are just a handful of volunteers dedicating time to improve Louisa County schools for the United Way's Day of Caring.
UVA Darden School of Business staff read to students, while Louisa County Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Pettit watched, via Facetime, from home where she's recovering from surgery.
"I'm a bit of a performer - so the chance to read a book and roar with little kids seemed like a really good call," UVA Darden School volunteer Valerie Harness said.
Back outdoors, UVA radiology workers traded X-rays for shovels. "Digging and mulching, removing grass," said Dawn Johnson with the UVA Department of Radiology. "It was a lot of work."
They built a memorial garden from the ground up in front of Louisa County Middle School.
"It's been a tremendous thing we've had to overcome this past year, and it's great to know there's a lot of great people out there who are still willing to help out," Louisa County Middle School Principal Lee Downey said.
The valuable free help for Louisa creates a return on the investment for these volunteers. "It's worthwhile and it makes the heart smile," Johnson said. "At the end of the day, it makes you feel good."
The United Way estimates Day of Caring volunteers invested $304,000 worth of free labor at projects across central Virginia. That doesn't count all the donated supplies for their projects.
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