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September 2, 2004

Day of Caring set for Sept. 14

This year’s Day of Caring, Sept. 14, features many projects inspired by the interests of Pitt staff.

“We’ve moving away from just picking a project from a catalogue supplied by United Way,” says Steve Zupcic, one of the coordinators for 14th annual Pitt/United Way Day of Caring. The volunteer effort is more customized to the needs of an organization and to our resources, Zupcic said.

For example, this year Equipose, a University organization of African American faculty and staff, initiated the inclusion of four volunteer sites for Pitt’s Day of Caring:

= A reading project at the Urban League Charter School in East Liberty.

= Assistance with activities for the residents of the Lemington Home for the Aged in the Larimer.

= Assistance with employment services at the Job Links office in Oakland.

= Help with job search skills for women in transitional living at the Alma Illery Medical Center in Homewood.

Many of Pitt’s Day of Caring projects are filled, according to Zupcic. “We’ve been so successful in recruiting volunteers this year, there is just one project that could use only a few more people, ‘Keep it Clean Oakland.” The cleanup project is sponsored with Oakland Planning and Development Corp. – a grassroots organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Oakland neighborhoods.

More than 300 Pitt employees have volunteered for Day of Caring projects with the university, according to Zupcic.

When faculty and staff organizations identify sites in need of help, there’s more “of a commitment to a high quality of work during the Day of Caring and it leads to continued volunteer effort throughout the year,” Zupcic said.

There are other stories of community involvement of Pitt faculty and staff that unfold on the Day of Caring.

Michele Dobransky, an administrator for the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, and her family has a long-standing volunteer tradition with the Stephen Foster Community Center in Lawrenceville, another Day of Caring site.

Dobransky’s husband John and late mother-in-law, Lillian Dobransky, lived across the street form the Foster Community Center.

“These volunteers help a community center and a little town like Lawrenceville,” Dobransky said. The Foster Center has been a Day of Caring site for at least five years. Over the years, much volunteer painting has cleaned up the iron fence and some of the center’s interior. In fact, if it wasn’t for the Day of Caring, Dobransky said, “the work would have been hard” to get done.

Filed under: Feature,Volume 37 Issue 1

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