Western Carolina University’s Academic Success Program, in conjunction with associates from the Sylva Walmart Supercenter, will be partnering up to help benefit several local community- based programs for a Day of Service set for Saturday, July 16.
“The opportunity to partner with Walmart for this Day of Service demonstrates WCU’s ongoing commitment to service learning and community engagement in a way that is meaningful to student learning outcomes and to our community partners,” said Glenda Hensley, director of WCU’s First Year Experience program.
ASP’s Day of Service will be held in the parking lot behind Walmart’s garden center and will include a variety of fundraising events, said Hensley.
A carnival will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is open to children of all ages. The carnival will feature food, games and an inflatable jump house. Paws, the WCU mascot, will be there to greet the local community as they enjoy the day’s festivities.
A benefit concert, featuring The Mixx, will be held after the carnival. The concert will begin at 5 p.m. and last until 8 p.m.
Proceeds from the carnival will help the Community Table and REACH of Jackson County. The Community Table is a communitybased program designed to help get healthy food to those in need in and around the Sylva community. REACH of Jackson County helps to promote healthy relationships and prevent domestic and sexual abuse through educating the community.
Those who come to Walmart for this year’s Day of Service will have the opportunity to shop for a wishlist provided by the Community Table and by REACH. Walmart will provide a matching grant up to $1,000 for each agency, in addition to helping offset the cost of the event.
Other community programs that will benefit from ASP’s Day of Service are Full Spectrum Farms, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Skyland Care Center and CuRvE. Full Spectrum Farms is a community service program based in Cullowhee that helps people with autism by creating a healthy environment where adults with autism can work and create self-independence. Skyland Care Center is a nursing home that provides services to the Western Carolina area. CuRvE, or the Cullowhee Revitalization Endeavor, is concentrating its efforts on revitalizing Cullowhee, focusing on the areas of Old Cullowhee and the Tuckaseigee River. ASP students also will work on the river clean-up throughout the day.
Students in the Academic Success Program begin their college experience early by participating in a six-week summer session prior to the fall semester of their freshman year. The program assists students in making a successful transition to the university and includes opportunities for students to become fully engaged as members of the university and the local community.
“We have incorporated service projects into the summer session for the last few years on a much smaller scale,” said Janina Dehart, ASP coordinator. “By collaborating with Walmart for this year’s Day of Service, we are able to increase our overall impact in the community and provide greater support for our community partners.”
More than 150 volunteers are expected for this year’s project.
The Day of Service is sponsored by Western Carolina University’s Academic Success Program, First Year Experience, Service Learning and Quality Enhancement Plan and by Sylva of Walmart.