Student leaders from Albemarle County Public Schools help plan “Day of Caring”

Student leaders from Albemarle County Public Schools help plan “Day of Caring”
Sydney Dell, Student Leader from Western Albemarle High shares her experience working with United Way and other nonprofits in the Charlottesville-Albemarle area. (Source: WVIR)

ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Each summer, Bank of America chooses students from across the nation to work alongside nonprofits and learn civil engagement skills as part of their prestigious Student Leaders program. For the first time since the program expanded to the Charlottesville-Albemare area, two students from Albemarle County Public Schools were chosen to participate.

Sydney Dell, a recent graduate of Western Albemarle High and newly named student leader, said she’s working with the United Way of Greater Charlottesville to round up nonprofits and volunteers in the Charlottesville-Albemarle area for the national Day of Caring, set to take place in September.

“It’s an eye-opening experience because we hear about a lot of non-profits, but you don’t actually get to work side-by-side by them in this way,” Dell said.

Dell says because of COVID-19, much of her work involves connecting with smaller nonprofits online.

“We’re actually introducing them to Day of Caring, and even if they can’t do it this year, we’re getting a lot of support for next year and the years to come because we don’t know what it’s going to look like in 12 weeks,” Dell said.

Caroline Emerson of United Way of Greater Charlottesville said the students’ work goes a long way.

“COVID-19 has brought to light inequities to the world, inequities that the United Way of Greater Charlottesville and other community organizations have been trying to tackle for years,” Emerson said. “So they’ve gotten the opportunity to communicate one on one with agencies about inequities in financial systems, housing, healthcare, food insecurity, all those things that really bubbled up in a way that everybody can see those now.”

Student leaders also take part in webinars to learn about social justice issues and connect with legislators to talk about community needs.

Dell said she wants to continue giving back to her community, even after her internship comes to an end.

“I know I want to volunteer now and since I’ll be home, doing an online semester, I’ll probably go out and volunteer,” Dell said.

Applications for next year’s Student Leaders program open in November.

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