This is Give A Day Week in Louisville, and students from more than a hundred public, private and Catholic schools will be tackling community projects, during this week of community service, April 14-22. Mayor Greg Fischer’s goal for the Give A Day week is to set a world’s record for caring – with at least 55,000 volunteers and acts of compassion.
To kick the week off, more than a dozen local educational institutions are hosting videotaping sessions this week, to collect student testimonials to post on You Tube. The “video volunteers” are part of a project coordinated by 55,000 Degrees, the community’s collaborative movement to add 55,000 more college graduates in Louisville by 2020.
Students from universities, colleges and high schools across the region are posting scores of brief video messages on the 55,000 Degrees’ You Tube channel. The messages are both inspirational and informational – everything from personal stories of overcoming obstacles to insider tips for paying for college.
“On-line videos and social media are important sources of information that are motivating people to take action today,” said Fischer, who is chairman of the 55,000 Degrees board of directors. “By sharing their success stories, student volunteers will help us convince more people to finish college and earn their degrees.”
Back in 2003, when the city and county governments merged, our community was at a crossroads. With unity came a community consensus to take stock of our city's strengths and our challenges. Whether the issue was attracting new jobs or improving quality of life for all residents, the top priority for the new city of Louisville to flourish became increasingly clear: Education.
The Greater Louisville Project, an organization that has benchmarked the city's progress since merger, consistently listed education as the most important deep driver for positive change. And the community had united behind a number of education initiatives including improving reading and graduation rates.
In October 2010, a new public-private partnership called 55,000 Degrees took on this mission with the support of local foundations to launch Louisville into the top tier of our competitor cities with the bold goal of adding 40,000 bachelor's degrees and 15,000 associate's degrees by 2020.
55,000 Degrees invites you to get inspired by the videos of future, current, and alumni students on the 55K YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/55Kdegrees . For more information about 55,000 Degrees, go to www.55000degrees.org 
The week of volunteer service started and will end with massive cleanups. On Saturday, April 14, a record number of volunteers, nearly 9,000, helped Brightside with cleanups in hundreds of neighborhoods, schools and parks. On April 22, Give A Day will conclude with final cleanup from Thunder Over Louisville along the waterfront and downtown.
Among the agencies getting volunteer help during Give A Day will be the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana. Teams from Humana and other companies will be painting the gymnasium and art room at the newly re-opened Newburg facility and also working at the Shawnee club according to president and CEO, Jennifer Helgeson. “We are so appreciative of the opportunities Give A Day week has created for us and the impact it is having on our Clubs,” Helgeson said.
The “Geeks Giving” online drive to help adults battling autism is being waged by the Louisville Digital Media Association. Two rival groups of “geeks” will compete, using social media to raise donations to purchase Ipads for autism sufferers through the local Apple Patch organization. More info is available at http://louisvilledigital.org/club-news/trekkies-vs-jedi-settle-the-geek-rivalry-for-a-good-cause/ 
Mayor Fischer praised Metro United Way for its “instrumental role” in placing volunteers with needy projects and organizations through its Volunteer Connection. For those who can’t volunteer time, many giving opportunities are available Give A Day week including:
- Dropping off cans of food for Dare to Care at local Kroger stores;
- Giving blood at one of more than a dozen American Red Cross blood drive locations;
- Donating shoes to EDGE Outreach at locations throughout the city. The shoes provide funding to bring clean drinking water to families around the world, and
- Donating books to JCPS so that every elementary and middle school students have grade-level books to read this summer. Books can be dropped off at any public elementary or middle school. A list of approved books is available at www.mygiveaday.com .
Give A Day week of service April 14-22
Partial list of projects
April 14, 8 a.m. (Mayor Fischer) – Ali Shuffle Run/Walk. Inaugural event to help raise money for the Ali Scholars Program to fund education for at-risk youth. Mayor Fischer will help start participants at the West End School, 3628 Virginia Ave. Contact: Stacy Bailey-Ndiaye, 457-1910.
April 14, 9 a.m. - Noon (Mayor Fischer) – Central Park cleanup, part of Brightside community-wide cleanup with Metro Parks, Old Louisville Neighborhood Council and Councilman David James. Contact: Mary Byrne. 797-9749.
April 14, 9 a.m.-Noon (Mayor Fischer) – Cleanup at 17th & Hill, part of Brightside community-wide cleanup, large group of volunteers from Coca-Cola. 1661 West Hill Street, 40210. Contact: Andres Atehortua – 415-3409.
April 14, 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. – Newburg Boys & Girls Club. Volunteers from Humana will paint the gymnasium and art room and do other projects. 5020 E. Indiana Trail. Contact: Jennifer Helgeson, 262-9929.
April 14, 5 p.m. --- Loaves & Fishes meal for the homeless at Salvation Army, 831 South Brook Street. Volunteers prepared hot meals at St. Francis in the Fields church and deliver them to homeless families and individuals. Contact: Curtis Taylor, 718-5264.
April 15 – Ghyslain on Market Supply Drive for St. Josephs Children’s Home The restaurant is offering a free dessert for donations such as nightlights, beach towels, wrapping paper and gift bags. 721 E. Market St. 690-8645.
April 16, 9 a.m.-Noon – Family Scholar House. Volunteers will assemble “finals baskets” for 167 single-parent scholars who live at Scholar House. Contact: Julie Brown, 813-3082.
April 16, 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. – Olmsted Parks Conservancy. About 50 volunteers will be helping rid Cherokee Park of garlic mustard, an invasive plant. Contact: Liz DeHart 419-8374.
April 16, 3 p.m.- 6 p.m. – YMCA/Sheppard Park cleanup. Volunteers will help spruce up Sheppard Park – mulch around trees and on the playground, repaint picnic tables, remove graffiti, and clean up park signs. The work is part of a program called “Play Every Day Outdoors” which encourages inner city families to do healthy activities outside as a family. Contact: Nina Walfoort, 376-4988.
April 16, 5 p.m. – Kids Café at Neighborhood House in Portland. Volunteers from our Lady of Lourdes will be helping feed youngsters their evening meal. 201 N. 25th St. Contact: Allyson Ferry 544-1917.
April 17, 10:30 a.m. (Mayor Fischer) – Wayside Christian Mission. Mayor Fischer will join in reading a story to homeless pre-schoolers in the day care center, then help serve them lunch. 432 E. Jefferson St. Contact: Nina Mosely, 664-7112.
April 17, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. -- Supplies Over Seas (S.O.S.). Volunteers will help sort and package medical supplies and equipment to send to needy countries. 1500 Arlington Ave. 40206. Contact: Jayne Labes 435-5235.
April 17, 1 p.m. (Mayor Fischer) – Young Presidents Organization (YPO). About 50 volunteers will be doing a pre-Derby cleanup of the central downtown area, starting at Jefferson Square Park, 6th & Jefferson. Contact: Dan Rivers, 210-0830.
April 17, 5 p.m.-8 p.m. – Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana will sort and organize donated items which will go to 10 agencies serving children aimed at bringing a smile to their faces in times of trouble or bad health. 2115 Lexington Rd. Contact: Menisa Marshall 551-2048.
April 18 -- The Louisville Digital Media Association will mount a “Geeks Giving” campaign to raise funds for Ipads to be used by persons with autism through the local Apple Patch group. Contact: Jay Garmon, 272-0119. More info available at http://louisvilledigital.org/club-news/trekkies-vs-jedi-settle-the-geek-... 
April 18, 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. (Mayor Fischer) -- UofL School of Dentistry, freshman class, will work with students at St. Nicholas Academy to raise awareness about the importance of good dental health. 5501 New Cut Rd. (corner of New Cut Rd. and Southside Drive). Contact: Gay Baughman, 551-8231.
April 18, 9 a.m. (Mayor Fischer) -- Edge Outreach. Volunteers will help sort and pair donated shoes which will be distributed to families and individuals in third-world countries. 1500 Arlington Ave. 40206. Contact: Mark Hogg, 568-6342.
April 18, 10 a.m. (Mayor Fischer) -- Fuller Center for Housing will turn over the keys to the owners of a home at 242 S. 41st St. The Fuller Center takes abandoned and boarded-up properties and turns them into usable homes. Fuller Center volunteers will be working on other homes in the Shawnee area during GAD week. Contact: Steve Marrilla, 693-2216.
April 19, 9:30 a.m. -- Dare to Care food warehouse. 8th Graders from St Leonard school will volunteer to help sort and pack food donations. 5803 Fern Valley Road. Contact: Stan Siegwald, 741-3565.
April 19, 6 p.m.-7 p.m. – Volunteers of America. Volunteers will be throwing an ice cream social for children living at the Family Emergency Shelter, 1321 S. Preston Street. Contact: Jennifer Recktenwald, 994 9167.
April 20, 10 a.m. (Mayor Fischer) – Arbor Day Volunteer Event/Shawnee Park. Volunteers from eight tree companies, over 100 students from Whitney Young Elementary School and other volunteers will plant trees and do other work in Shawnee Park, near the pavilion and playground. Contact: Julie Kredens, 817-6407.
April 20 (Mayor Fischer) -- Habitat for Humanity project. Louisville Metro Council and staff will be volunteering from 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. to help build a habitat home. Location TBD. Contact: Tony Hyatt, 574-4137
April 20, 10 a.m. -- Americana Community Center. Volunteers including about 20 from Humana will paint the cafeteria and do other projects. 4801 Southside Dr. 40214. Contact: Edgardo Manzilla 554-8224.
April 20, 2:30 p.m. (Mayor Fischer) – Chenoweth Elementary/Dare to Care. Students will be collecting canned goods for Dare to Care at the old Doll’s Market parking lot at Brownsboro Rd. and at the school bus pull-up area. Contact: Caroline, 721-8636.
April 21, 9 a.m.-Noon (Mayor Fischer) – Beargrass Creek cleanup in Seneca Park. Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Metro Parks, Beargrass Creek Alliance and Heine Brothers Coffee. Volunteers will clean the creek banks of litter and invasive plants. Volunteers will include the local APPKI group of Pakastani physicians. On Seneca Park Rd. between Pee Wee Reese Lane and Old Cannons Lane. Contact: Liz DeHart, 419-8374
April 21, 9:30 a.m.-Noon (Mayor Fischer) – Dare to Care food distribution. Volunteers will help distribute food to needy individuals and families at St. Matthews Episcopal Church, 330 N. Hubbards Lane 40207. Contact: Brian Good, 432-0501.
April 21, 1 p.m.-4 p.m. -- Supplies Over Seas (S.O.S.) Volunteers will help sort and package medical supplies and equipment to send to needy countries. 1500 Arlington Ave. 40206. Contact: Jayne Labes 435-5235.
April 22, 9 a.m. (Mayor Fischer) – Thunder Over Louisville cleanup. Mayor Fischer will join volunteers from Youth Build in helping finish cleaning up from Thunder. Waterfront Park. Contact: Aimee Boyd, 741-7442.
April 22, 2:30-5:30 – Volunteers of America. Volunteers from Mortenson Family Dental will be throwing a spring party for residents of the Family Emergency Shelter, 1321 S. Preston Street. Contact: Jennifer Recktenwald, 994 9167.
April 22, 5 p.m. – Ursuline Sisters and Associates will be delivering baked cookies to clients eating dinner at the St. Vincent dePaul Open Hand Kitchen, 1029 S. Preston St. Contact: Fran Webb, 212-1750.
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