Some 3,500 volunteers worldwide participate in Notre Dame’s first Global Day of Service

Author: Dennis Brown

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Caroline Jodelis Yapp, a 2020 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, was among the estimated 3,500 alumni and friends worldwide who participated in the Notre Dame Alumni Association’s first Global Day of Service on Saturday (April 29).

She and others in the Notre Dame Club of Kalamazoo, Michigan, worked on a spring cleanup project for the Hospital Hospitality House of Southwest Michigan, an organization that provides living quarters for families with a loved one receiving long-term medical care.

“My time as a student instilled in me the importance of service to others,” Yapp said. “No act of kindness is too small, and we all can play a part in fulfilling Notre Dame’s mission of being a force for good. I enjoyed participating in the Notre Dame Global Day of Service because it gave me an opportunity to give back to my community and connect with other members of the Notre Dame family.”

Brian Parker is a 1995 graduate and board member of the Notre Dame Club of Joliet, Illinois, which worked in the storefront, relocated inventory and assembled donated items at the city’s Habitat for Humanity Restore.

“Events like this are fun days,” he said. “People enjoy giving back. You put a lot of sweat in and you get done and look back and feel good.”

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The 3,500 participants put in approximately 7,500 volunteer hours. They represented 118 Notre Dame clubs from 45 states, the District of Columbia, and 26 nations and territories, from El Salvador to Portugal, Mexico to the Netherlands and beyond. The University’s network of 266 alumni clubs is the most extensive in higher education.

The service included assisting food banks, collecting clothes and household items, facilitating park beautification and home repair projects, cooking and serving meals, and more.

In Notre Dame’s backyard, the St. Joseph Valley club took on two projects — working on a Unity Garden in South Bend and building beds in partnership with the national Sleep in Heavenly Peace organization, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and 1st Source Foundation.

Lynda Sarb, whose husband, Pat, is a 1977 Notre Dame graduate, was one of the volunteers at the Unity Garden.

“We retired here so that we can do just this — be a part of the community more and do more for the University that he (Pat) loves,” she said.

After the success of the inaugural Global Day of Service, the Notre Dame Alumni Association has every intention of making it an annual event.