Community Service - Activities
ORBRC members participate in a variety of community service projects each year. Some projects are annual events and others are ad hoc activities; the mix varies from year to year. The following activities are representative. They are exclusive of activities presented as Major Projects, as well as the Community Action Grant program of the ORBRC Foundation.
Christmas Angel Tree (Linda Brown). ORBRC works with Willow Brook Elementary School each year to identify children who are in danger of having little or no joy at Christmastime. The school provides information about each child regarding wants (toys) and needs (clothing), which is assembled into a collection of individual paper “Angels.” Many ORBRC members select one or more Angels from the 80-100 in the collection, purchase and wrap presents for the children they represent, and return storage bags of wrapped presents to the staging area. Some members prefer to donate funds, others shop for additional presents, and still others help with wrapping. A ham is added to the gifts for each family. Then, on the Saturday before Christmas, ORBRC members and their families gather at the staging area for delivery of the entire assembly of presents to Angels at homes scattered around Oak Ridge. Delivery is a happy time for kids, parents, and Rotarians. This is ORBRC’s longest running community service project, having lasted more than 20 years.
Christmas Parade Float (Lynn Cardwell). ORBRC members construct a float each year and enter it in the annual Oak Ridge Christmas Parade. The message it carries is that Rotary supports programs aimed at improving literacy, especially among young people. To emphasize this message, thousands of children’s books are collected in advance and prepared for distribution along the parade route. Then, members of the local Interact Club walk alongside the float during the parade, giving books to young children along the way.
Dictionary Project (Jim Rushton). Dictionaries designed for third graders are purchased for distribution to various elementary schools in Anderson County and Oak Ridge. The books are divided according to their designated schools and pairs of Rotarians then deliver the books directly to the third-grade students at those schools. The teachers assure that every student receives a dictionary, whether present or not. It is surprising how excited the students are with “their own” dictionary. Rotarians leave with a smile.
Clinch River Trash Bash (Dan Robbins). The Tennessee Valley Authority lowers the level of water in Melton Hill Lake twice each year, which provides access to several feet of bare riverbank along the Clinch River, the East boundary of Oak Ridge. ORBRC takes advantage of this time to clear the riverbank of debris. Members walk the bank on a Saturday morning, collecting trash and placing it in bags for later pickup by the City of Oak Ridge. The City supplies safety vests, signage, tongs, bags, etc. The Bash is followed with refreshments and fun in the nearby pavilion.
River Road Trail Trash Bash (Dan Robbins). This event is similar to the Clinch River Trash Bash except the debris is collected along the River Road walking trail, which runs adjacent to Melton Hill Lake Drive.
Graduation Celebration (Jana Martin). Graduation Celebration is an all-night lock-in party in the Oak Ridge Civic Center, for graduating seniors of Oak Ridge High School. It provides food, music, games, raffles, and such for the new graduates. ORBRC members, along with members of other organizations, provide a crew of volunteers who gather at 5 am the next day, to resstore the Civic Center to normalcy. After several hours of restoration work, crews meet at some local coffee shop for refreshment.
Career Pathways (Derrick Hammond, Jim Palmer). This ad hoc project is a collaboration with the Oak Ridge High School, United Way of Anderson County, and local charitable organizations. Underprivileged high school students are identified that will benefit by experiencing real work experiences. They arpply for the program, are interviewed, selected, and placed with a local charitalble organization, working under the mentorship of an employee of the organization. They work as true emplyees and earn real wages and hopefully grow in knowledge and reaponsibility. ORBRC funds these students through the ORBRC Foundation and the United Way. This program is highly successful with most, but not all, student employees.
Flatwater Festival Oak Ridge. This is a mid-summer frolic for the community, as well as a fund raiser for the club It is held at the Melton Hill lade front on a weekend in June, beginning on Friday evening and extedding through much of Saturday. There are food and drink, music, boat races with home-made flat boats, and lots of fellowship. t is truly a community even.