The communities of Portage and Kalamazoo were shown love from those who volunteered through FOCUS Kalamazoo’s event, Project Impact. On Saturday, Oct. 21,  FOCUS sent out 91 volunteers to six different sites around the area. Those sites included Habitat for Humanity, Kalamazoo Nature Center, Rickman House, Portage Parks, Friendship Village and Stewards of Kleinstuck.

The Stewards of Kleinstuck is a wet meadow that is owned and managed by Western Michigan University. The atmosphere was light and fun while volunteers soaked up some sun, all while making the most of pulling weeds and other unwanted greenery. Olivia Bevacqua  and Arriell Daniel are both part of Alpha Lambda Delta, an academic fraternity. Their fraternity requires members to log a certain amount of volunteer hours, and Project Impact was the perfect way to earn some hours.

“It’s been enlightening and nice to work with everybody,” Bevacqua said.

Those volunteering for Portage Parks were given the pleasure to help clean up Ramona Park. Their job entailed picking up trash around the different sport facilities, playground and beach. James Pye and JJ Dulbandzhyan are seniors who heard about the event from an email that was forwarded to them. Not only did they do work at Ramona Park, but they also spent time with residents at Friendship Village, a senior living community, beforehand.

“It’s nice to give back to society even if it’s a small contribution,” Dulbandzhyan said.

At the end of the day there were a total of 413 hours logged by volunteers. The work throughout the day ranged from building a house, to picking up trash, to connecting with residents, and everything else in-between. The volunteers did it all. The day turned out to be beautiful, which was an added bonus for those doing outside work. Behind the scenes there were bumps in the road, but that didn’t discourage the FOCUS team  from making the event the best it can be. They pushed through and made sure the job of impact was achieved, and they succeeded.

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