Class of 2023 Kicks Off Community Outreach With Day One of Service

Hundreds of Captains served thousands of hours across Virginia Peninsula.

Read time:

Lance Coleman, paint brush in hand, isn’t sure what he wants to major in just yet, but he feels ready to help others no matter the path he takes.

The freshman from Manassas is giving back to the world around him as part of Christopher Newport’s signature Day One of Service. It is the very spirit that drew him to enroll at Christopher Newport.

Coleman joined over 600 fellow Captains in the 12th annual community service event. In his case that meant helping paint benches and clean out closets at McIntosh Elementary School in Newport News, readying the building for the upcoming school year.

The Day One of Service, spent volunteering across the Virginia Peninsula, represents just that: the first day of many to come.

The event had just the sort of atmosphere Coleman anticipated finding at Christopher Newport.

“Together, we’re like a family and we want to give back to our family here in the Newport News community,” he said. “I think it’s wonderful that we all get out and are able to bond together by this while giving back to the community that’s done so much for us.”

In total, a record-high over 660 freshman and 75 faculty and staff members participated at 49 sites across Hampton Roads.

“Day One of Service is an important first step in the development of civic-minded students,” said Vanessa Buehlman, Director of the Center for Community Engagement. “We want it to be a positive introduction to the Virginia Peninsula, for our students to embrace the whole community both on- and off-campus and for our students to become excited about the many ways community engagement can amplify their education.

“We encourage our students to fully engage in their new community – to ‘Know, Love and Serve’ their community wherever they live over the course of their lives.”

The projects were varied and plentiful. Groups of students helped teachers set up classrooms and decorate buildings to welcome kindergarteners to their new buildings. Captains stuffed bags of food at the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank and compiled brochures of information for the United Way of the Virginia Peninsula.

About a dozen Captains – each with their own history of volunteering while in high school – labeled items for purchase at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, assisting shoppers in finding items to benefit the nonprofit. Hailey Rae Smith, of Chesapeake, was happy to begin the hours of service she’ll complete as a member of the President’s Leadership Program.

“For me, it’s a way to get to know the community and get into the community,” Smith said. “Because in a new place, it’s hard to do that. You always get a warm feeling when you help somebody else out.”

The day, in which over 2,000 hours were contributed to the community, is just the start of the next four years of the Class of 2023 engaging with the Virginia Peninsula.

Back to top
quick edit report a problem