MLK 'day' of service gets an early start

Events over weekend include YWCA work; bulk scheduled Monday

By Tom Vogt, Columbian science, military & history reporter

Published:

 

If you go

What: Speech by Darryl Brice, sociologist at Highline Community College.

Where: Gaiser Student Center, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way.

When: Noon Tuesday.

Fifteen men and women pitched in Saturday and Sunday on behalf of an agency that helps people in crisis.

It was part of a remodel job at the YWCA Clark County office, but there's another way to describe the project: a nice start.

Those volunteers were among the early participants in what's become an annual "Day of Service" holiday weekend celebrating the life of Martin Luther King Jr.

The biggest share of the projects are taking place Monday. Businesses, organizations and lots of willing hands are mobilizing this morning to assist worthy causes that include the environment, health care and nonprofit agencies that help people in the community.

At the YWCA's office, 3609 Main St., the volunteer work will provide a more welcoming setting for women dealing with the aftermath of sexual assault or domestic violence. It also will eliminate some workplace hazards for the staff, said Sharon Svec, YWCA spokeswoman.

The volunteers moved furniture out of offices so crews could replace the carpets; then the volunteers put everything back.

"The carpet was stained by mold, but more importantly, it was hazardous," Svec said. "There were buckles in the carpet, and it was not safe for visitors or staff."

The work focused on the offices of the YWCA's sexual assault program; its SafeChoice domestic violence program; and Women Offenders Rehabilitated Through Help (WORTH).

The Saturday schedule also showed opportunities to volunteer with the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District and work in the warehouse at Vancouver's Habitat for Humanity ReStore outlet.

The biggest share of projects are scheduled for Monday, including the annual Day of Service program at Washington State University Vancouver, 14204 N.E. Salmon Creek Ave. It features a keynote speaker and hands-on service activities that include assembling hygiene packs and sorting donated school supplies.

Clark College students will have an opportunity to work with kids in a half-day "minicamp" at the Clark County Family YMCA, 11324 N.E. 51st Circle.

Several sites will have an environmental focus. Events include a day of planting trees and preserving wetlands at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. In central Vancouver, the Vancouver Watershed Council will guide the planting of seedlings along the canyon shore of Burnt Bridge Creek.

In the Blandford Canyon area of Vancouver, volunteers will continue their ongoing war against invasive ivy. Along the Columbia River, other volunteers will maintain the Waterfront Trail and begin building an outdoor classroom at the Water Resources Education Center.