Once a year Ventura County residents, students and local businesses gather to volunteer their time and give back to the community. On Sept. 17, California Lutheran University will be amongst the participants in Ventura County’s Day of Caring, a county wide tradition that serves to improve local nonprofits.
Nicole Cozzi, coordinator of the Community Service Center, said that each year Cal Lutheran works alongside businesses such as Wells Fargo, Amgen and Caliornia State University Channel Islands at various service sites. This will be the fifth year Cal Lutheran is participating in Day of Caring
“It’s a very simple day of service”, Cozzi said, “You don’t have to give your life, you don’t even have to give a full day…you can really just better the community in short little ways and acts of kindness.”
Each year a number of local nonprofits apply to become a site of service,Cozzi said. This year the chosen sites include Ride On Therapeutic Horsemanship, a ranch that provides horse therapy for adults and children with special needs, and the Cancer Support Community Center in Westlake Village, Cozzi said.
“It’s nice for the nonprofits to have that opportunity because they might not have the staff or the manpower or the money to really take care of it the way they would like to” Cozzi said.
Most of the volunteers will help with outdoor work such as planting seeds, yard work and painting.
In years past, this event has been very successful, according to Adam Santa Cruz, advocacy intern at the Community Service Center. Santa Cruz said that last year’s event had a large turnout of both students and community members.
“My favorite thing about Day of Caring is seeing how many people are willing to take time out of their weekend to impact so many local organizations that really appreciate the help we provide” Santa Cruz said in an email interview. “It’s awesome to see so many smiling faces willing to make a difference.”
Cal Lutheran junior Rachel Lapp was amongst the many students who participated in last year’s Day of Caring. Lapp volunteered at Ride On Therapeutic Horsemanship and said she really enjoyed the experience as a whole.
During the time she volunteered at Ride On, Lapp had the opportunity to learn more about what the nonprofit does. She said they offer horseback riding lessons for people with various disabilities and it allows them to “relax and have sort of this natural connection with this animal even though they struggle having that with other people.”
Lapp said that although the Day of Caring involved a lot of hard work, it was more than worth it.
“You do it because it’s the right thing to do because it’s a good thing to do” Lapp said. “It’s a way of giving back to the community for having such a great school to go to, for having a loving supportive community around you.”
According to Cozzi, for the past few years Cal Lutheran has served as one of the kick off sites for community members to gather before heading to their service site. This year students and residents can sign in, enjoy a free breakfast and go out to serve.
Students can sign up for the event at Cal Lutheran Community Service Center’s website.
Cozzi said it is something the center looks forward to each year and that the community is really impacted by the event.
“You give three hours of your Saturday and it really does help them tremendously with their mission,” Cozzi said.