Carolina Clubs Help Communities With Service Projects

Competition with UNC’s rivals still reaches those far away from Chapel Hill. Alston Mann ’05 already participated in New York Cares Day. But when he saw that other universities had alumni groups involved, including Duke, he knew he had to get the New York Carolina Club involved as well.

“I’m a freak about UNC,” says Mann, team leader for the event. “So when I saw everyone else had their alumni involved, I knew I had to get ours in there, too.”

One particular New York Cares Day fell on a weekend close to University Day, Oct. 12, when many alumni groups across the country participate in Tar Heel Service Day. This one took the volunteers into New York public schools, where about 25 of UNC’s alumni added fresh paint to the hallway of a Brooklyn school.

Competition with Duke also found a group of first-graders in San Diego. Los Penasquitos Elementary School has a “No Excuses University” program that advocates for every student’s ability to go to college.

Every grade adopts a university for the year and learns about it. One of the first-grade classes picked UNC, while the other class just down the hallway had adopted Duke. Melanie Flowers ’94 and Rachel Toler ’07, co-chairs of the San Diego Carolina Club, and many other alumni raised money to buy everyone in the class Carolina T-shirts and spent a couple of hours one day teaching them the fight song and letting them ask questions about UNC.

“It was fun and refreshing to see the students get excited about it,” Toler says. “I’m glad we could help them learn what opportunities were available to them.”

The Orlando Carolina Club joined with 1,000 motorcyclists and many volunteers as part of the 15th Annual Ride for Children. The motorcyclists, who paid money to participate, rode from the Daytona Harley-Davidson at Destination Daytona to Camp Boggy Creek, a camp for kids with chronic illnesses that is supported completely through donations.

Carolina’s alumni helped the camp serve lunch as well as run the silent and live auctions at an event the day before the ride. “It’s the first year we’ve done it, but we would love to make it a yearly thing,” says Terri Kyle ’84, the community service co-chair. “No family that goes to that camp ever pays a penny, and it’s great to be able to help them.”

Robert Page IV ’90, president of the Austin Carolina Club, invited his alumni group to participate with him in the Texas Chainsaw Manicure at Down Home Ranch. Every year, Page works with the ranch, which was created for people with Down syndrome to work and live on the ranch or attend summer camps.

“I was just really impressed with the family that runs the ranch and their daughter, and the way they’re trying to create a community out there,” Page says. “The family is great, and I have been active at the ranch ever since I met them.”

This year there was underbrush that could start a fire, so the ranch and the forestry service joined with volunteers to cut down trees and brush that were too close to the buildings.

Page and the Austin Carolina Club also had a second event for Tar Heel Service Day for those who didn’t want to wield a chainsaw. They worked at a settlement home near Austin that provides safe shelter for kids who might come from broken homes.

The settlement home takes donations of miscellaneous items from the community and then holds a garage sale to make money. The Austin club was there to load and unload trucks at the sale.

Among many other Tar Heel Service Day projects were an Isle of Palms beach clean-up by the Charleston Carolina Club and the Foothills Carolina Club helping with projects around the Children’s Advocacy Center. The Lake Norman Carolina Club participated in a dinner benefit for the Charlotte Men’s Homeless Shelter.

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