Baylor Steps Out To Volunteer Oct. 29

News Photo 1214
Oct. 27, 2011

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Baylor University students, faculty and staff will step out of their comfort zones and into work boots for Steppin' Out, Baylor's biannual day of service, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, at various locations throughout the Waco community.

The event, sponsored by the Baylor department of student activities, enhances student involvement in community service, as well as collaboration between Baylor and the Waco community. This semester, more than 2,700 volunteers will tackle projects, such as gardening and painting, at local residences, schools, churches and other locations.

"For more than 25 years now, this student-led effort has helped students step out of the 'Baylor bubble' and serve the Waco community," said Janice Wong, member of the Steppin' Out Steering Committee. "As a student, it is often too easy to become too consumed with all things Baylor that we forget that we have so much to give to our community."

Volunteers signed up individually or with organizations they are involved with, such as fraternities and sororities, academic departments and residence halls. 102 organizations signed up this semester, including Baylor's Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, the Baylor Transfer Council and the Baylor Leadership Living-Learning Center (Lead-LLC).

Phi Gamma Delta will mulch and clean up the playground at First Baptist Preschool, 500 Webster Ave., while the Transfer Council will take on gardening projects at Praise Temple Assembly of God, 1201 N. I-35, and Lead-LLC volunteers will paint a resident's two-story house.

"Steppin' Out allows us to, even for just a day, give back to the community that we live in," Wong said. "For me, the best part about Steppin' Out is seeing students interacting with local Waco residents and building relationships with the people they are serving."

As well as the various projects they will be undertaking, volunteers will be able to attend Steppin' Out's Block Party, which will offer fun for both students and families.

The Block Party, which is free and open to the public, will be held from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday at Dewey Park, 925 N. Ninth St. The event will include performances by local church choirs and Baylor's Uproar Records artist Blake Sherman, as well as activities including children's crafts, cookie decorating and group games. Completed crafts will be donated to the Regent Care Center of Woodway. There also will be free food and T-shirts for attendees.

"Coming into Baylor, I wanted to find a way to serve and make friends along the way," Wong said. "Steppin' Out had a mission that really captured my attention. I loved the idea of thousands of students uniting together to serve, and was really interested to see how such a big event was put together. It has been a great experience so far and definitely very fulfilling."

Steppin' Out began in the spring of 1985 as a full week of events leading up to the day of service. The project became a one-day event in 1989, held in both the fall and spring semesters. By 1993, it was chartered as an independent organization under the department of student activities. It is one of the largest community service projects on an American college campus and is nationally recognized for its commitment to service.

Each semester, the event is planned by the 14-member, student-led Steppin' Out Steering Committee. For more information, contact the committee at (254) 710-3199 or by email.

by Katy McDowall, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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