Global Day of Service Highlights

Global Days of Service Highlights: Spontaneous Celebrations

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Located in Jamaica Plain, Spontaneous Celebrations was founded just after the defeat of a proposed I-95 extension through Boston neighborhoods.  Shortly after in 1979, the first “Wake Up the Earth” festival was held in celebration. Spontaneous Celebrations was founded by Femke Rosenbaum to continue local festivals.

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Today, the organization operates out of a building in Jamaica Plain, becoming a center for culture and arts.  This building provides a wide range of events and classes such as Zumba, “Spontaneous Stilts” and “Toddler Drumming.” Spontaneous Celebrations is most known for their annual Jamaica Pond Lantern Parade, held every October.  During this festival, people of all ages encircle the pond carrying handmade, candle-lit lanterns, which represent hope and the spreading of light across the community.

Global Day of Service volunteers will participate in various community building and arts projects, specifically preparing for the annual Lantern Festival. For more information visit their website and Facebook. To register for Spontaneous Celebrations and over 30 other sites on Saturday, April 13, 2013, please see our registration page.

– Shannon Clark (SMG ’16)

Global Days of Service Highlights: The Esplanade Association


The Esplanade is a place we are all very familiar with, because it runs right along our campus! Whether you run, walk, sit or study on the Esplanade, it’s an important part of the B.U. Community and the city as a whole. The Esplanade Association (TEA), ensures that the Esplanade remains a beautiful and safe place.

The main goals of TEA include preserving, improving and enhancing the history, integrity, facilities, landscape, culture, educational and recreational programs associated with the Esplanade. The organization built the Stoneman playground in 2001 (I’m sure some of you have played on it), restored Teddy Ebersol’s Red Sox Fields with the Hill House and The Red Sox Foundation in 2006, and rebuilt the Community Boating Docks in 2011. Click here for their full list of TEA’s accomplishments and future projects.

TEA hosts events, too! Past activities include Dancing on the Docks, a Moon Dance Gala and even an Ugly Sweater Party.

In order to keep the park clean, safe and beautiful for the millions of people that stroll along the Esplanade each year, volunteers are always needed. There are volunteer opportunities year-round, and on the Global Day of Service our students will be helping with maintenance projects such as planting, mulching, bench painting and removing invasive species.  Expect to get your hands dirty! TEA is very excited to host the B.U. community on April 13th, and hopes for continued involvement in their organization.

For more information visit their website, Facebook or Twitter. To register for the Esplanade Association and over 30 other sites on Saturday, April 13, 2013, please see our registration page.

– Martine Subey (COM ’16)

Global Days of Service Highlights: The Cambridge Community Center

Cambridge Community Center

The Cambridge Community Center strives to provide a loving and happy environment for Boston and Cambridge residents. The center has provided youth and community activities since 1929. Highlights of the services provided are after school programs such as “CCC Enriches,” “CCC Inspires,” the farmer’s market and adult basketball league. These different games and activities help build friendship, confidence, leadership skills and a close-knit community.

Global Day of Service volunteers will help out by working at the center’s farmer’s market. For more detailed information about the farmer’s market click here!

Cambridge Community Center 2

For more information about the Cambridge Community Center, visit their website, Facebook and Twitter. To register for the Cambridge Community Center and over 30 other sites on Saturday, April 13, 2013, please see our registration page.

– Katie Campisi (COM ’15)

Global Days of Service Highlights: The Franklin Park Zoo

Franklin Park Zoo

Located in Boston’s historic Franklin Park, the Franklin Park Zoo covers 72 acres and is operated by Zoo New England, an organization that aims to inspire people to protect and sustain the natural world.  To do this, the zoo creates fun and engaging experiences in wildlife and conservation programs, research and education.  The zoo is engaged in many conservation projects, from amphibian efforts in Panama to the restoration of a Butterfly Habitat in Concord, New Hampshire.

The Franklin Park Zoo allows visitors to see animals from all over the world – right in the middle of Boston!  Exhibits include the Tropical Forest, Giraffe Savanna and Outback Trail.  These exhibits feature a variety of exciting and exotic animals, such as ocelots, free-flight birds and zebras.  For a more one-on-one experience, visitors can check out the Franklin Farm and spend time petting animals such as goats and sheep.

Franklin Park Zoo 2

What will you do as a volunteer?  The zoo is looking for people to help with their spring clean-up and prepare the exhibits for the approaching spring season.  Volunteers will maintain facilities and help with horticulture. And, of course, volunteers will tour the grounds of the Franklin Park Zoo and see all the exotic animals!

For more information visit their website, Facebook and Twitter. To register for the Franklin Park Zoo and over 30 other sites on Saturday, April 13, 2013, please see our registration page.

– Shannon Clark (SMG ’16)

Global Days of Service Highlights: Belle of the Ball

Belle of the Ball

Remember the scene in Disney’s Beauty in Beast when Belle walks down the grand staircase in her gorgeous golden ball gown, waiting to dance and fall in love with the Beast (who, of course, turns out to be a handsome prince)? After watching this scene, many young girls instantly fantasize about what they will wear for their fairytale night, or what modern day Americans call, prom. However, some girls miss out on prom night because of the large expense; this is where the wonderful organization Belle of the Ball steps in.

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Belle of the Ball, originally started by Anton’s Cleaners, collects and distributes used prom dresses to local high school juniors and seniors in need. The beauty and confidence each girl feels upon receiving her prom dress is indescribable, which makes volunteering for the Belle of the Ball extremely worthwhile. One young woman who was transformed into a Belle said, “I’ve never felt more special than I did today.”

The Belle of the Ball hosts many superb events throughout the year, including fashion shows, boutique days and prom expos, all raising awareness and funds for the organization. Boutique Day, held in April, transforms a specified Boston location into Prom 101. There are stations for dresses, hair, make-up and accessories. Belle of the Ball is a leading organization for empowering young women, and in 2010 they were honored with the Purple Dress Award.

For more information visit their website, Facebook and Twitter. To register for Belle of the Ball and over 30 other sites on Saturday, April 13, 2013, please see our registration page.

– Jackie Mahedy (CGS ’15)

Global Days of Service Highlights: Compass on the Bay

Compass on the Bay, located in South Boston, is an assisted living home specifically for senior citizens suffering from memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease. Compass on the Bay focuses not only on treating these individuals, but also providing them with a homelike environment and feelings of dignity and self-confidence.

Compass on the Bay

Compass on the Bay was completely renovated several years ago to include an enlarged porch and oversized windows to take advantage of the views of the Bay and Carson Beach across the street. This is a truly beautiful facility that offers top of the line care. Individuals at Compass on the Bay receive innovative treatment and medication, as well as assisted living services. The seniors also have the option to participate in activities that range from bingo to yoga to cooking classes; it is a major goal to provide these seniors with a rich and fulfilling life. The most important aspect is that the seniors have their choice of activities, which reinforces their independence.

For more information visit their website. To register for Compass on the Bay and over 30 other sites on Saturday, April 13, 2013, please see our registration page.

– Emma Maider (CAS ’15)

Global Days of Service Highlights: IMEC America


The International Medical Equipment Collaborative (IMEC) is a nonprofit organization that provides equipment solutions for health care, agriculture and education projects in impoverished countries around the world.  In the last 18 years, IMEC has transformed communities in over 80 developing countries.

How does IMEC send all of this equipment to countries in need?  The organization offers supplies in the form of IMEC “suites,” which cater directly to medical departments receiving the equipment.  For example, an exam room suite will contain all the materials a doctor needs in an operating room, while a family farm suite provides tools needed to set up and run a small farm.


Since Tom Keefe started IMEC in his garage in 1995, IMEC has grown into a large nonprofit organization. It is now located in North Andover, MA and involves about 4,000 volunteers. How will you contribute to this cause on the Global Day of Service?  Volunteers will package and organize IMEC suites to be shipped worldwide. IMEC relies on volunteers, for it takes about 175 to complete each project.

For more information visit their website, Facebook and Twitter. To register for IMEC America and over 30 other sites on Saturday, April 13, 2013, please see our registration page.


– Shannon Clark (SMG ’16)

Global Days of Service Highlights: Belle Isle Salt Marsh

Belle Isle Marsh

The Belle Isle Marsh Reservation works to preserve 152 acres of the total 241 acres that comprise the Belle Isle Salt Marsh. Located just north of Boston the reservation strives to preserve the marsh in a way that resembles the wetlands that once lined the Massachusetts Bay shorelines.

Volunteers will be building trails through the marsh and expanding the wetland habitat. The reservation offers guided walks through the marsh to teach visitors of the history and purpose of this valuable habitat. The trails that Global Day of Service volunteers will build allow the continuation of these tours and for visitors to enjoy the marsh the way nature intended.

For more information visit their website. To register for Belle Isle Salt Marsh and over 30 other sites on Saturday, April 13, 2013, please see our registration page.

– Katie Campisi (COM ’15)

Global Days of Service Highlights: The Home for Little Wanderers

Home for Little Wanderers

The Home for Little Wanderers is a safe haven for children to learn, play, laugh and love. The Home helps 7,000 children each year by providing continuous care through an open door policy. Their mission is to care for children and families living in at-risk circumstances and give them life skills and characteristics needed to transition into a happy, successful adulthood. The organization provides services in many areas including: therapy, education preparation, community integration, fostering and adopting.

How can you connect to this inspiring organization? There are many different kinds of volunteer opportunities, ranging from direct interaction with children to promotional assistance. Volunteers can serve as mentors, classroom assistants, tutors, activities coordinators, volunteer relief poolers (babysitting, cooking meals), administrative supporters, special events volunteers, thrift shop assistants, or human rights committee advisors.

Working with the Home for Little Wanderers is rewarding in any capacity. Liam Walsh, a mentor at The Home, said, “I’d encourage people to get involved. It takes patience, compassion and consistency, but it’s one of the most rewarding experiences you can have.” Rupal Shah also expressed her thoughts on caring for the children,saying, “The children say they have learned from us — they have learned to make strawberry pizzas, pilgrim hats and paper butterflies. But I think I have learned a whole lot more from them.”

A large, annual event hosted by The Home hosts is a huge holiday gift drive called the Big Wishes Gift Drive. The Home will also enthusiastically be participating in the Boston Marathon in April.

Spread the care and love for the youth in Boston! You can get started by watching this video.

For more information visit their website, Facebook and Twitter. To register for The Home for Little Wanders and over 30 other sites on Saturday, April 13, 2013, please see our registration page.

– Martine Subey (COM ’16)

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Global Days of Service Highlights: Strong Women Strong Girls

Strong Women

Strong Women, Strong Girls (SWSG) is a multi-generational mentoring program that started small in 2000 at Harvard University, with just six mentors at two elementary school sites. As of 2012, SWSG works with 1,400 girls in three cities around the country: Boston, Pittsburgh and southern Florida. The organization works with young girls, female undergraduates and professional women to foster six core values: love and support, integrity and respect, discovery, balance, diversity and inspiration. In addition to providing young girls with the role models and mentors needed for a healthy, successful life, SWSG helps everyone involved in the organization develop strong leadership skills and a commitment to service.

Each year, SWSG creates an impact report to monitor the program’s success. As of 2012, 94% of the young girls they work with showed an increase in self-esteem and 92% wanted to return to the program the following year. Their success was recognized around the country, as SWSG received the Jefferson Award for Public Service, Better Communities Include Everyone Award, Margaret Stewart Lindsay Inspiration Award and the NOVO Award for “innovative excellence in the not-for-profit business sector.”

As a Global Day of Service SWSG volunteer, you will help out with their annual field day and the positive impact they have on women and girls in the Boston community firsthand. Interested? You can check out the Strong Women, Strong Girls website, or for the more social-media savvy, follow them on Twitter, like them on Facebook, or subscribe to their YouTube channel for inspiring testimonials and news coverage!

To register for Strong Women Strong Girls and over 30 other sites on Saturday, April 13, 2013, please see our registration page.

– Morgan Whaley (COM ’14)

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The Gifford Cat Shelter

For all you cat-lovers out there, I have two words: kitten room.  This cat shelter, located in Brighton and right around the corner from BU’s campus, has a room specifically designated for kittens– and for you to hang out with them. The Gifford Cat Shelter is the first cage-less, no-kill shelter in the United States and was founded in 1884.  Back then, the shelter cared for many different kinds animals, such dogs, cats, goats and bulls.


Today, the Gifford Cat Shelter houses only cats, and more than 75% of the shelter’s cats are rescued from homelessness and hoarders. The cats are provided with a great environment where they can roam, play and socialize with fellow felines.  The inside space is filled with lots of light, windows and toys for their amusement.  When it’s nice out, the cats venture into an enclosed outdoor space.

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So what will you do as a volunteer? You may find yourself washing food bowls and litter boxes or sweeping and folding laundry.  For all of you hands-on folk, there will be plenty of yard work and maintenance opportunities, including painting, gardening or repairing parts of the shelter.  Volunteers are important for the quality of care the cats receive and to attract future adopters.  Of course, there will be plenty of time to bond with the cats!  Not only will you be able to satisfy your need for a little cat-lovin’, but you’ll be helping them to develop social skills, too.


For more information visit their website, Facebook and Twitter. To register for the Gifford Cat Shelter and over 30 other sites on Saturday, April 13, 2013, please see our registration page.

– Shannon Clark (SMG ’16)

Boston Nature Center:
Tucked between Roslindale and Mattapan, lies a landscape untouched by urban development. This magical place is Mass Audubon’s Boston Nature Center, a 67 acre wildlife sanctuary and community based education center. Boston Nature Center is notably a model of green building design, offers two miles of trails to connect residents with its many migratory birds and other animals and is the home of Clark-Cooper Community Gardens. For local youth, the Center is a place for weekly environmental education, as well as “Nature Preschool” and summer camps.

In volunteering at the Boston Nature Center myself with the CSC’s Branch Out program, I was struck by the Center’s peaceful grounds were and the multitude of services they offer. My group worked to clear branches, trash and vines for the creation of a new trail, designed with educational stations that allow visitors, including individuals with hearing and visual impairments, to learn more about the plants and wildlife they encounter. GDS volunteers will continue the creation and maintenance of trails this spring.

The Center’s groundskeeper, Angelo, was more than happy to share his knowledge as we worked together, referring to a new program or fact about the Center without even being prompted. In the end, his greatest piece of advice was, “leave no trace.” Picking up countless pieces of litter and seeing how development encroached on the protected site, I could clearly see why this was important. Working in the woods on a sunny Sunday morning, it was wonderful to escape the noise and stress of the city, and I can’t imagine how beautiful the Center’s grounds will be for volunteers this April.
To register for the Boston Nature Center and over 30 other sites on Saturday, April 13, 2013, please see our registration page.

Laura Kakalecz (CAS ’15)