Plan ahead to participate in annual day of service in 2012

Universities play a central and meaningful role in solving community problems and providing the human capital — or people power — needed to address needs in their community.

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UAB will partner with the non-profit Hands On Birmingham, and faculty, staff and students can support the university’s outreach efforts at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Jan. 16, 2012.

UAB again will partner with the non-profit Hands On Birmingham, and faculty, staff and students can support the university’s outreach on Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on Jan. 16, 2012.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for UAB faculty, staff and students to volunteer their time to give back to the community in a variety of ways,” says Marie Baisden, director of The Resource Center/Employee Assistance Program at UAB and coordinator of the project. “Whether it’s for two hours, four hours or the entire day,  the time our employees can give will greatly benefit the community in which we work and live.”

Multiple service opportunities will be available. Participating organizations include Birmingham AIDS Outreach, Community Kitchens of Woodlawn, Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House, Christian Service Mission of Ruffner Mountain and Hope Lodge.

“We’re going to be adding more projects,” says Melissa Firestone, coordinator of events for Hands On Birmingham. “For example, we’re going to try and identify a couple of disaster-related projects to help those affected by the April tornadoes. We hope to have 35 to 40 projects for volunteers to consider.”

If you wish to volunteer as an individual, visit www.handsonbirmingham.org and click on the special events icon or opportunity calendar on the home page to see a list of participating organizations.

If you wish to volunteer as an office or a group, email Firestone at Melissa@handsonbirmingham.org. The majority of the projects will take place Monday, Jan. 16, but there will be a few Saturday options available.

Participants are encouraged to sign up for a project by Jan. 9, but you can register to help up until just a few days before the event.

UAB has been among the largest providers of volunteers each of the past two years, Firestone says.

“We usually have anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 volunteers who come to honor the legacy of Dr. King,” Firestone says. “Of those volunteers, we’ve had maybe 400 to 500 UAB people attend — employees and students.

“UAB plays a big role in our day of service, as they do for every day of service we have. We love working with UAB. We love the partnership, and we hope it continues to build.”

The Hands On Birmingham organization encourages volunteerism in Birmingham through employer-sponsored, group and individual volunteer projects. The MLK Day of Service is a nationwide event, and participation in Birmingham consistently is among the greatest in the country.

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