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August 30, 2001

StreetFest 2001

StreetFest 2001, Calvin College's massive freshmen volunteer project, is here.

On August 30, August 31 and and September 1, 2001 approximately 1,000 first-year Calvin students -- clad in distinctive t-shirts -- will take to the streets of Grand Rapids for a variety of 3-hour volunteer projects.

Sites will include such places as Salvation Army, Baxter Community Center, Home Repair Services, Mel Trotter Ministries, Guiding Light Mission, Heartland Health Care Center, Second Harvest Gleaners, John Ball Zoo, Habitat for Humanity and more.

Work will take place at various sites each of the three days from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For instance, on Thursday, August 30 a crew will be at John Ball Zoo, doing clean-up work, from 11:30 to 3:30. Another crew will be at Home Repair Services that day, doing stocking, sorting and painting. Meanwhile another group of freshmen will be at Heartland Health Care Center on the 30th, putting on an ice cream social for the residents.

StreetFest happens at Calvin because the Christian, liberal arts college believes strongly in the value of volunteering. Calvin believes so strongly in it, in fact, that it generally refers to volunteering as service-learning, a term it thinks captures the reciprocal benefits of helping others. Prior to their StreetFest experience students discuss, with their orientation leader, the differences between volunteerism and service-learning.

"The goals of StreetFest are many," says Calvin senior Becky Tyler, the student coordinator of the massive effort. "We want freshmen to understand Calvin's location in a larger community. We want them to recognize and be open to the resources and opportunties of Grand Rapids. And we want students to understand the service mission of Calvin College."

Thus the theme for StreetFest 2001 is "Joining the Dance," a theme that speaks to the idea that service-learners are joining with the valuable work already being done in the community.

StreetFest 2001 will mark the ninth straight year that Calvin has included this massive volunteer project as part of its overall orientation program for first-year students. This year's class of approximately 1,000 promises to be one of the biggest work forces yet. Work will take place at about 30 different sites around the city during the three-day project. The 4-hour time slots will include travel time, a brief orientation to the job site, about two hours of volunteer labor and a period of reflection at the end. The project is entirely voluntary, but last year almost 80 percent of the school's first-year class took part in StreetFest. Organizers feel numbers will be similar this year.

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Contact Phil de Haan
616-957-6475 (v)
616-957-7069 (f)