Sonia Galiber thinks it’s important for students to know where they are in order to make a change in North Philadelphia.
“Understand who you are and where you come from and what privileges may come with your life experience… and what role you play in this greater society,” said Galiber, a 2014 political science alumna and the director of operations at Philly Urban Creators. “That is how culture changes, culture has changed from the way people think.”
Philly Urban Creators is a nonprofit that runs a two-acre farm on 11th and Dauphin streets that seeks to develop and revitalize the surrounding area through art and education. It is also one of several organizations that is hosting volunteer events for this year’s annual Global Days of Service, an effort to encourage service and volunteering organized by the Office of Alumni Relations at Temple.
The weeklong event will have opportunities open to students, faculty, alumni and anyone else who wishes to give their time. The Global Days of Service started on Monday and will run through Sunday.
Participants in the Global Days of Service will have the opportunity to volunteer with Philly Urban Creators on April 29. At the beginning of this session, they will learn about the history of North Philadelphia and the origins of the Urban Creators. After they work on the urban farm or assist in cleanup efforts, the volunteers will end their time with a debriefing discussion about what they have learned and how they can contribute to the community in North Philadelphia.
“As a student, you want to know where your school comes from, and as a North Philly resident you need to know where North Philly comes from,” Galiber said. “There’s a certain level of pride and love that comes from learning that history.”
This annual event was originally only one day, but Maura McGlone, the associate director of university partnerships, said the office received feedback from people who had missed the event or were unable to participate on the designated day.
“It’s not a one-and-done thing,” McGlone said. “If you forget that your thing was on Tuesday, you still have Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday to do something else.”
This annual event, which has occurred since 2013, was previously limited to alumni and took place in the fall. It is now open to students, faculty members and anyone else who wishes to participate. This year, the organization reached its goal for 500 volunteers.
Dawn Ramos, the president of the College of Liberal Arts Alumni Association, hopes that since this event is now in the spring, the weather will encourage more volunteers to contribute.
This year, there are 33 registered volunteer sites across the United States and at Temple University Japan.
People who cannot volunteer at these sites but still want to contribute, can submit their work to the Office of Alumni Relations website so that service they have done elsewhere is counted toward the overall impact of the Global Days of Service.
There are four main sites, or featured projects, that give back specifically to the North Philadelphia community.
These four projects focus on hunger, the environment, health and education. Temple will partner with organizations like the Share Food Program to help distribute food to low-income Philadelphians, the Tanner G. Duckrey Elementary School on Diamond Street near 15th, where volunteers will aid teachers in their classrooms or clean the school, and the North Broad Renaissance, which aims to clean and revitalize the area around North Broad Street.
In addition, there will be a blood drive on Tuesday in the Liacouras Center.
“It all takes 15 minutes,” McGlone said. “You give the gift of life and you’re able to save more people than you think, and so we wanted to hold one of those on campus.”
Temple will also hold a fundraising initiative on Tuesday called Temple Toast. Blake Piper, the assistant director of programs and initiatives, said the event is “a 24-hour day of giving, so it’s one day for everyone at the university to come together and make a donation.”
When making a donation, people can choose to give to a college or program at Temple, like athletics, the library or specific scholarship funds.
Temple Toast started in 2015. This year’s goal is to have 1,500 donors in one day.
“If you combine our first two years of Temple Toast together, we received $250,000 from over 2,500 donors,” Piper said. “We don’t have any monetary goals because we are really all about participation.”
“Temple has such a large alumni base, has such a large student base, who are really passionate and have this kind of spirit behind them,” McGlone said.
Marissa Howe can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @marissahowe24.