The UNCG Office of Leadership and Service Learning offers many opportunities for students to volunteer and learn valuable skills at the same time. This year’s three Spring Break trips provided a great variety for volunteers —from the classroom to the farm to the art studio.
In the Women and Youth Empowerment experience, UNCG students worked with two organizations, Cool Girls Inc. and Wellspring Living. For the first three weekdays, volunteers assisted with the Girls Club, an after-school program dedicated to the self-empowerment of girls through education, life skills and exposure to a broader world of opportunity. For the last two days, UNCG students volunteered with Wellspring Living, an organization that helps sex trafficking victims and those at risk develop the courage to move forward and the confidence to succeed. The UNCG students received education about trafficking, tours of the facilities and opportunities to help.
UNCG students also had the opportunity to become farmers for a week, preparing greenhouse beds, starting potato fields and doing general farm maintenance. They did this work at Lynchburg Grows, a seven-acre urban farm dedicated to providing access to fresh, local, produce for Lynchburg residents, restaurants and organizations, while also providing onsite vocational training for disabled and low-income individuals. The students were a big help in kicking off the spring planting season for a farm deeply rooted in helping the surrounding community.
Students with an artistic hand or eye worked on public projects for Semilla Arts, a grassroots initiative that uses art as a catalyst for social change and artistic collaboration as a means of empowering individuals and strengthening communities. Semilla Arts’ murals and other objects have been used for art museums, public spaces and public gardens, and all artwork is based on the current needs of the community and partnership with the city. The UNCG students worked with community members and diverse groups to create public art with the potential to bring social change, transform neighborhoods and unite communities.
Visual courtesy OLSL, of an OLSL service trip.