'Be My Neighbor Day' provides help, service to community

Melissa Bloem/Staff Photographer Grosse Pointe sophomore Marisa Curran ties knots as she finishs a fleece blanket while working at one of the many volunteer sites during Be My Neighbor Day Saturday afternoon in the Down Under Food Court. The fleece blankets were being made for foster children as a part of annual spring event hosted by The Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center where student volunteers come together for various projects in the community.

Pontiac sophomore Octavia Carson said "Be My Neighbor Day" is not just a day to volunteer but an opportunity to get involved throughout the entire community.

About 150 participants came to the Bovee University Center Saturday morning to give back and provide support and assistance to 20 sites around the area, including the woman's shelter, assisted living homes, parks and foster homes.

Carson, who is the student event coordinator at the Central Michigan University Volunteer Center, said she has been planning this event since January.

"It's kind of like our final push before finals for students to give their service and time into making the community that holds their school a better place," Carson said. "When students leave for the summer and aren't up here, they maybe don't realize that people who live in the community still are here and they need our help."

Dearborn junior Courtney Brefeld, a member of Delta Phi Epsilon, was one of the participants in "Be My Neighbor Day," and she helped create blankets for foster care children.

"I plan on making as many as possible until we run out of fleece," she said.

Brefeld said her sorority likes to give time to help those in need, and, even though this is not something that goes toward their philanthropy, it was still a rewarding experience.

"We like to do community service for different things and help volunteer to do good in the community; it's nice to just all be together," Brefeld said.

Carson said the event provides a chance for organizations on campus, alumni and even people from other schools to come out to support a cause together.

Sophomore Elaine Trinh went to "Be My Neighbor Day" last year and ended up meeting some of her best friends there.

"My roommate invited me, and I really enjoyed it. It's kind of like the concept of pay it forward and what goes around comes back around," the Grand Rapids native said.

This year, Trinh volunteered at the Mount Pleasant Discovery Museum, and she said it was like a giant playground with so much to do.

"It was really fun. We just painted faces and hung out with the kids," Trinh said. "I like the little random acts of kindness"


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