LOUISVILLE (February 26, 2018) – Joined by representatives from local organizations and volunteer committees, Mayor Greg Fischer today announced plans for his 2018 Give A Day week of service. This year’s Give A Day week is set for April 14-22, although the Mayor noted that many projects will be under way earlier, to avoid conflicts with Thunder over Louisville at the end of the week. Give A Day is an official Kentucky Derby Festival event, and kicks off the festival season.
This year’s Give A Day week also leads into the 2018 Festival of Faiths, another volunteer-driven event.
“The people of Louisville give of their time, talent and treasure every single day, which is how we’ve earned recognition as an International Model City of Compassion year after year,” the Mayor said. “The Give A Day week of service is our way to showcase and celebrate all those great efforts in one week. I am so grateful for all those who help make this annual event bigger every year.”
Give a Day started in 2011 as a one-day call to serve others. Last year’s Give A Day Week of Service produced a world-record 180,000 volunteers and acts of compassion. Mayor Fischer said this year’s goal is to top that, with even more volunteers, donations and other good deeds.
The ultimate goal, he said, is to see compassion spread, and he pointed to the OGO JAR project being spearheaded by Global Game Changers Student Empowerment Program in collaboration with Lead2Feed Student Leadership Program. This year, all 130,000+ K-12 students enrolled in JCPS, Archdiocese of Louisville and independent and private schools will be invited to participate in this project, which encourages students and educators to create and sustain a culture of kindness, recognition and gratitude.
Other projects this year include:
- The annual Walk of Compassion, a short, student-led walk through downtown on April 17 that is part of the international WE Day. Downtown workers and others are invited to join more than 4,000 students participating in the lunch-time walk, which is sponsored by WLKY. WE Day is a celebration for our young people in grades 3-12 who have committed themselves to community service. They are already collecting hygiene products to be shared with JCPS’ resource centers and the community. Highland Cleaners has agreed to serve as the drop-off center for citizens wanting to contribute.
- The Build A Bed project, which is a JCPS-AmeriCorps-sponsored effort to build beds for children who otherwise don’t have one. New this year, volunteers will be building about a half dozen bunk beds. With the support of nearly a dozen local companies, including K&I Lumber, this project provides a bed, bedding, books and stuffed animals – some of the basics of a good night’s sleep. The first Build a Bed event in Louisville was hosted by JCPS Office of Community Support Services in 2012 and has grown, with volunteers and agencies setting up events throughout the year.
During a kickoff press conference held today at the Boys and Girls Haven, Mayor Fischer praised community organizations like the YMCA for their leadership, and he specifically called out Metro United Way, which this year celebrates its 100th anniversary, for its unflagging support of Give A Day.
“We’re proud to support our community in solving problems through volunteer service all year round,” said Theresa Reno-Weber, president and CEO of Metro United Way. “As a part of that continuous work, we are excited to again serve as the backbone of Mayor’s Give A Day by connecting volunteers to meaningful opportunities to give back and address the needs of our neighbors. Connecting people with the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done is at the heart of what we do in our fight for the education, financial stability and health of every person in our seven county region.”
The Mayor also praised the community’s schoolchildren, both public and private, for their support and involvement in Give A Day, noting that they are responsible for a huge percentage of the volunteers and acts of compassion counted every year.
“Last year, we had 100 percent participation from our schools, and our students donated the equivalent of 1,145 days of service – that’s more than two years of service projects in just one day,” said Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio. “We are proud of what our students and staff were able to accomplish and the difference we made in the neighborhoods surrounding our schools. This is a perfect way for us to give back to our community – a community that steps up and supports our students throughout the year.”
“Service and outreach are important components of Catholic schools throughout the year, and schools in the Archdiocese of Louisville look forward to participating in Mayor Fisher’s Give a Day week of service,” said Leisa Schulz, Superintendent of Catholic schools. “Catholic schools will be engaging in activities throughout the community.”
Also today, Mayor Fischer announced the formation of a founding Give A Day Board whose purpose is to sustain and grow the great service and compassion work that has taken place over the past 7 years. Mary Pat Regan will chair this founding board.
Individuals or groups wanting to find a project for Give A Day week are encouraged to visit www.mygiveaday.com, where projects and needs submitted by local non-profit agencies and other groups are listed. There you can also record your acts of compassion.
The Mayor urged individuals and companies to use the website to report their own community service. “If your church or civic group is doing a project that week, let us know about it so it can count toward our new world record,” he said.
The Brightside and Passport Health Plan Community-Wide Cleanup on April 14 is one of the most popular ways to participate in Give A Day. Every year, thousands help clean up neighborhoods, schools and parks. To learn more: https://louisvilleky.gov/government/brightside/brightside-passport-health-plan-community-wide-cleanup
Companies and organizations of all sizes also will have employee teams in action, including GE, Computershare, UPS and Ford.
Mayor Fischer said having Give A Day week as the lead-up to the Kentucky Derby Festival helps put Louisville’s caring deeds in the world spotlight. And Festival president and CEO Mike Berry said the timing is perfect.
“With more than 70 events to produce each year, we couldn’t do it without our large network of volunteers,” Berry said. “It’s a real tribute to this community that we have so many people living and working here who are willing to give of themselves to make our city a better and more caring place.”