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Aug-26-2010 19:01printcomments

George Fox University in Oregon Closes for Day so 1,800 Students, Staff Can Serve Communities

“The volunteers from George Fox are life savers,” said Kathleen Ris from the De Paul Treatment Center of Portland

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George Fox University

(Newberg, OR) - For a 12th straight year, George Fox University will close its doors for one day to allow students and employees to assist nonprofits, public agencies, churches, retirement homes and individual citizens during a day of service on Wednesday, Sept. 8.

About 1,550 students and 300 employees are expected to participate in the 12th annual Serve Day. Teams will do a variety of projects – including construction, painting, weeding and cleaning – for 75 sites in Washington, Multnomah, Clackamas and Yamhill counties. Stops will include the Oregon Zoo and the Portland Rescue Mission in Portland; the YMCA and Cat Adoption Team in Sherwood; the MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility in Woodburn; Medical Teams International in Tigard; and the McMinnville Area Habitat for Humanity.

New sites to be visited this year include Innercity Sports Ministries of Portland, Women of Purpose of Newberg, the United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley, Marquis Care of Newberg and the Beaverton School District Clothes Closet.
Other locations to be served include churches and nonprofits in Tigard, Sherwood, McMinnville, Dayton and Beaverton.
Volunteers will meet on the Newberg campus quad at 8:20 a.m. and depart for a record number of sites at 9 a.m. The groups will return to campus by 4 p.m. The day concludes with a volunteer fair, church fair and campus-wide celebration with a rock ‘n roll theme.

The theme of the event is “In Word and Deed” and is based on Colossians 3:17: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord.”
“The volunteers from George Fox are life savers,” said Kathleen Ris from the De Paul Treatment Center of Portland, a recipient of Serve Day last year. “Like other nonprofits, De Paul is always short on staff and funding. Having a group of this magnitude not only accomplishes a great deal of work, but it helps remind our staff the importance of community.”

George Fox began its Serve Day tradition in 1999. According to Campus Compact, a national coalition that promotes community service in higher education, it was the first instance of an entire university shutting down for a day of such activity.

“I had the privilege of weeding a garden for Allie (the lady we served),” said Gavin Bennett, a first-year student who served at Love INC of Newberg last fall. “This garden meant the world to her as the plants came from her deceased father’s garden, but it was completely overgrown with weeds. Telling us about it she started crying, so the two guys I worked with and I knew this job was special.”

In 11 years, more than 11,500 students and employees have volunteered about 120,000 hours for Serve Day projects, and nearly 200 organizations or churches have been assisted, according to Brad Lau, vice president for Student Life.
“This special day has become a deeply rooted tradition in the life of the George Fox University community as we seek to show the love of Christ by serving Newberg, Portland, Salem, and the surrounding area,” Lau said. “Our hope is that Serve Day will challenge those inside and outside George Fox to make a difference in their communities by serving others as a way of life.”

George Fox University is ranked by Forbes as the top Christian college in the Pacific Northwest and among the highest Christian colleges in the country. George Fox is the only Christian university in the Pacific Northwest classified by U.S. News & World Report as a national university. More than 3,300 students attend classes on the university’s campus in Newberg, Ore., and at teaching centers in Portland, Salem, and Redmond, Ore., and Boise, Idaho. George Fox offers bachelor’s degrees in more than 40 majors, degree-completion programs for working adults, five seminary degrees, and 12 master’s and doctoral degrees.

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