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“The main goal of the event is to attempt to meet the tangible needs of our neighbors, community, and city by conducting service projects and events simultaneously throughout Whittier,” said Interim Director of the Center for Engagement with Communities Gina DiPierro ’13.
At this year’s event, Whittier College students connected with and served the city, fostering valuable relationships and solidarity with fellow students and community members.
Lucas Holbert ’21 got involved with this year’s event because he wanted to make a difference in the community that he calls home. With the help of volunteers from both the College and the broader community, Holbert organized a project designed to show appreciation to the special education teachers and paraprofessionals at Pioneer High School. Holbert’s team of volunteers put together appreciation baskets which included thank you cards, hand-decorated mugs, and classroom supplies, and personally delivered the baskets to the teachers.
Holbert has always admired the hard work, patience, and devotion of teachers to students and communities.
“Teachers do so much for our community and leave an impact on so many people’s lives, including my own,” he said. For his contribution to Love Whittier, Holbert wanted to focus especially on teachers who work with differently abled students. He, too, aspires to one day become a special education teacher, and he was proud to unite with his community to honor the professionals who inspire him most.
“After the project was complete, I was honestly amazed. We had so many people volunteer: from children to local teachers to even our own Whittier College students. Seeing everyone collaborate and work together was amazing,” Holbert said.
Alongside other giving and compassionate volunteers, Whittier students, faculty, and staff engaged in many other impactful service opportunities hosted across the city, including assembling backpacks for local elementary students experiencing homelessness, hygiene kit assembly for PIH Health, scarf making for residents of senior homes, fire department appreciation, a home renovation Habitat for Humanity project, building a garden at the Uptown Whittier Senior Center, and painting an inspirational mural at Whittier Area First Day for the residents experiencing homelessness.
DiPierro called this year’s Love Whittier event “a perfect example of [students] working hand-in-hand with the community.”
DiPierro plans to make the College’s collaboration with Love Whittier an annual event, and to expand it next year.
“Service has been a component of the Whittier College core values since 1915, and we look forward to strengthening that value through events like this,” she said.