Daily Point of Light # 2457 Jul 7, 2003

The Volunteer Involvement Program (VIP) consists of a group of full time students at Weber State University who donate their time and skills to service through various committees and groups. The VIP Program consists of Bridging the Gap, Cares, Alternative Spring Break, Christmas Tree Express, Done In A Day, Environmental Projects, Homeless Projects, Jump Start, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Special Olympics Team, YCC, Best Buddies, Davis Campus, Habitat for Humanity, and Kiwanis International.

This year, Bridging the Gap, a group of students that work with the elderly, are planning and implementing the Senior Health and Information Fair to be held at the Golden Hour Center. This fair will offer information on senior health and be marketed by the students to Davis and Weber Counties. The students at Weber plan on having this become an annual event. They have also spent time with retirement homes providing activities and companionship.

Cares, a program where students mentor elementary age children, has planned events for every month of the year. Students work with three elementary schools in Weber County School District. Some of their programs include a trip to the pumpkin patch, bowling and dinner at Weber State University, and an up-coming Easter Egg Hunt. The one-to-one relationships built with the students are the best reward of this program. College students are able to impact the lives of young children in a positive way.

The Christmas Tree Express committee donated a tree to be auctioned off, with proceeds going to the Ogden School District Foundation. In addition, they distributed trees to 18 organizations across the campus. These trees were decorated and displayed in the bridge and then donated to needy families across the Wasatch Front. This year, the Homeless Committee members tied quilts, which they donated to the Ogden Rescue Mission for the men. This committee also became the waiters for the Gouffilet Gala. The Jump Start students work with the after school program at the Marshall White Center. They also plan an activity every month.

The YIP Martin Luther King committee planned with members of the community and different agencies for months to prepare for the Munch and March event. After breakfast at the Marshall White Center, the students and others marched up Martin Luther King Street to the 25th Street Pavilion, where they presented a program. It is a significant challenge to plan an event that involves the city, community agencies, media, and the police department and have the event become both meaningful and fun.

The committee for the Special Olympics Team spends many hours in practice with their teams. They transport them to many area games throughout the state for competition. The students spent a weekend with the team in Beaver competing in volleyball.

The YCC committee assisted with the fundraiser, Real Men Can Cook, held at the Ogden Union Station. Members of the football and basketball teams served as bus boys, while others helped with beverages and cleanup. This committee also works with children at the YCC. Their Halloween party includes neighborhood children where students helped with games, pumpkin decorating, face painting and prizes.

The goal of the Best Buddies program is “to enhance the lives of people with Mental Retardation by providing opportunities for one-on-one friendships and integrated employment.” In November they held a dance to celebrate the 8,000 books that had been collected in October. They donated these books to the homeless shelters in the Ogden area. These committee members spend time with their buddy twice a month.

This year the Alternative Spring Break students went out to Antelope Island State Park and participated in a service project. With the help of park rangers, they collected rocks to line the parking lots. Last year this committee went to Portland, Oregon to build houses with Habitat for Humanity. Several students were so impressed with this program that they attended the Habitat for Humanity convention in Indianapolis. They have since reinstated a chapter at Weber State University. They have formed a committee comprised of students, faculty, and advisors and met with the Habitat for Humanity in Brigham City. Currently, students are involved with helping to construct eight homes.

The Davis Campus group is heavily involved in Share the Harvest and the Done In A Day group not only runs the blood drives at Weber but also helped plant trees in the Ogden area to help serve and beautify the community. The Environmental group is involved in both recycling and the Earth Day Mall along with working on adopting a trail.

Along with their committee duties, the YIP Program decided to be involved in the statewide food drive competition with other universities. They collected about 1,700 pounds of food that they donated to Catholic Community Service to distribute to local areas. They are also planning to volunteer at R.C. Willeys on the 16th of this month in order to donate that money to the Angel House.