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Lindsay Weimer | The Feather Online

Over 260 students and staff members travel to nine locations to better the community on the annual FC Serve Day, March 12.

Filling five buses and a van, over 260 students and faculty load up to travel to nine locations around the Fresno area on the annual FC Serve Day, March 12.

From non-profits to park clean up, Fresno Christian partners with Every Neighborhood Partnership (ENP) to choose locations for the day, some of which include; Central California Food Bank, Valley Dream Center, Mary Ella Brown Community Center, ENP Warehouse and Graffiti Abatement.

The Central California Food Bank reaches from Madera to Bakersfield, covering most of the San Joaquin Valley and serves over 200,000 people per month.

At the food bank, students organize food and sort though Capri Suns. With a total of 9,400 pounds of food sorted, Volunteer Manager at Central California Food Bank, Jobelle Duka, sends thanks to Fresno Christian and shares how others can get involved.

“I’ve been working at the food bank for five years,” Duka said. “My favorite thing is being able to meet all the new people from donors to volunteers and seeing their desire to give back to the community. Some ways to get involved in the food bank are by donating your time, treasure and talent. Time by volunteering, treasure by donating food or money and talent with any skills you have.”

Gloves on and garden tools in hand, students help with the beautification process of the facilities at the Valley Dream Center. Founded by Valley Christian Center, their mission is to rescue people, restore them through training and education and resend out into the community.

Campus students volunteered at nine locations throughout Fresno in #FCserveday2019. In the following tweet, students served at Fink White City Park and painted parts of an old wear house graffiti in Southwest Fresno.

Since his involvement on the original team that started the center, Arturo Correa, Director of Operations at Valley Dream Center continues his third year on the job. Correa shares the mission behind the non-profit and how he gets involved.

“Built on four and a half acres of land, the Valley Dream Center features nine facilities which all serve the same purpose,” Correa said. “This campus is so important because it provides resources for families to come together and better themselves. Whether it be through after-school programs, parenting classes or nutrition classes we offer something for every member of the family.

The Valley Dream Center offers a number of different program and services to help achieve their goal; rescue, restore and resend. Computer literacy classes, GED prep classes for students headed to college and sports programs all help community members better themselves. Partners with the Central California Food Bank, the dream center is also a center for food distribution.

Lindsay Weimer | The Feather Online

Olivia Tucker, ’22, uses a hula hoe to remove weeds at a location in Southeast Fresno, March 12.

“My experience on the team has been so amazing and so life-changing,” Correa continued. “To see these kids learn as we develop relationships with each of them is truly a blessing. We are able to come alongside them not just as an organization but personally, as mentors. We are always in need of volunteers, there’s a lot of ways to get involved.”

Cleaning up trash, mowing overgrown areas and trimming bushes, students help prepare the land for the construction of a park in Southeast Fresno. The vision of the Southeast Fresno Community Economic Development Association (SEFCEDA) is to ‘progressively make improvements in the economic conditions of Southeast Fresno to equate and surpass those conditions in the city and state.’

Once the 18 acres of land is cleared, a regional park with a lot of amenities for families will be built. Olivia Tucker, ’22, helps remove weeds at the location. Tucker would like to encourage everyone to get out there and serve!

“Today we are mowing and gardening to make this park look better and to prepare it for the plans in the future,” Tucker said. “Eventually, this place will be a park for kids in the area to come and play. They plan to make three soccer fields and a few basketball courts on this property. I think it’s important to serve to make the community the best it can be.”

Students also clean garden beds at the Mary Ella Brown Community Center, organized at Cross City Church, removed trash from Fink White City Park and paint over graffitied walls. Thank you to ENP for your partnership and to all the students who served.

The video below shows a recap of this year’s serve day by Braden Bell and Blake Deffenbacher.

Check out last year’s serve day video: Serve Day 2018.

The author can be reached via email: Braden BellInstagram and Twitter.

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