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Madison Quiring and Joshua Flaherty work with other students to wash service vehicles for Sherman Indian High School. Photo and story by Jessica Bills
Madison Quiring and Joshua Flaherty work with other students to wash service vehicles for Sherman Indian High School. Photo and story by Jessica Bills
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“SERVE program” connects new CBU students to surrounding community

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (Sept. 2, 2014) — New students at California Baptist University upheld a tradition of service by donating thousands of hours to community projects just days before the Sept. 2 start of the fall semester.

Nearly 1,700 students each completed two hours of community service Aug. 30, working on projects in elderly residents’ homes, at Operation Safe House, Sherman Indian High School and other facilities. They also worked at 10 locations coordinated through Keep Riverside Clean and Beautiful.

Kelli Welzel, director of new student programs, began the SERVE program last year to connect new students with the university’s neighbors.

Some student groups took the streets of Riverside, filling up bags with trash and cleaning playgrounds. One group painted a backdrop for a Child Abuse Prevention picnic. Some international students from China, France and Brazil served at Magnolia Church in a variety of ways.

"It's a great way to interact with the community,” said Ashley Vidaurri, an incoming freshman. “It's a lot of hard work but I'm willing to do it for the community."

Vidaurri's group, one of five working at Sherman Indian High School, raked gravel in a school parking lot. On another part of the campus, Federick Martinez, a member of Sherman's maintenance staff, shoveled dirt from the back of a truck while other CBU students spread the soil over dead spots on school grounds. 

"They have done an outstanding job," Martinez said of the student volunteers. "From the coach to the principal, we appreciate their efforts."

Martinez noted that this is not the only time the two schools interact. Throughout the year, CBU students tutor Sherman students.

"They are like older brothers and sisters,” he said. “There is so much help that comes from CBU for our students. They are a big part of our community."