It is no accident this popular event is being held on this day.
Wednesday is Sept. 11, and marks the 12th anniversary of the attacks on America by 19 terrorists whose actions changed life as our nation — and the world — once knew it. Their murderous assault on the innocent took the lives of some 3,000 people by crashing hijacked jetliners into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and in an open field in Pennsylvania after heroic passengers overtook their captors.
In the wake of such tragedy, CSCC’s Department of Service-Learning has joined hands with the GRAAB Coalition (Going Respectfully Against Addictive Behavior) to organize this year’s Volunteer Expo under the appropriate “Make a Difference Now” theme. The whole idea is to reflect on human tragedy by responding with the human heart through community awareness. Such people-first actions teach us to help others to build up in answer to the misguided evil of others whose misdeeds are aimed at tearing down.
At the Volunteer Expo, which is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the L. Quentin Lane Gymnasium, visitors will have the opportunity to visit with an array of nonprofit organizations and other community service groups that are always in need of volunteer help. Although the event is held on the beautiful CSCC campus, it is open to everyone — students and area residents — whose common denominator is a big heart and an innate desire to “make a difference” in the lives of other people, and to do it “now” and not later.
Since its inception, the Volunteer Expo has grown and grown and grown. So has its popularity. Its powerful impact on people’s lives — both the recipients and the volunteers — reminds us of the Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Such campus bazaars, especially those dedicated to volunteerism, teach others not only how to help their brothers but exactly what their needs are, and where. In this case, Cleveland and Bradley County’s volunteers — who are willing donors of time, but are not necessarily aware of how — are the fishermen who are learning new trades of the heart.
By attending CSCC’s Volunteer Expo, these doers of grand deeds will learn not just how to help for a day, but how to influence lives for a lifetime.
“Make a Difference Now” centers on our community college’s desire to give students, and the general public, the opportunity to become empowered, emboldened and engaged in their community by learning more about area nonprofits, agencies and organizations whose work is dedicated to people business.
Dr. Denise King, CSCC vice president of Academic Affairs, said it best when she explained, “We value the opportunity to serve our community while educating students at the same time. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Credit should be given to Susan Webb-Curtis, CSCC director of Service-Learning and Cooperative Education; to Sherry Holloway, Service-Learning coordinator; and to GRAAB Coalition leaders for again bringing this worthwhile event to our community.
We urge attendance. We encourage participation.
“Make a Difference Now” is not just about showing up. It’s about showing how ... showing how a big heart can pump some good into the pain of any tragedy.
Sherry Holloway, 423-473-2385, firstname.lastname@example.org