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Rebels Canvas the City for Service Day

Rebels Canvas the City for Service Day

115 UNLV volunteers fan out across the city to help community nonprofits.

Business & Community | Oct 12, 2017 | By Jason Scavone

The kindergartners cavorted in the background. That’s what kindergartners should do, after all: cavort, maybe caper. The occasional gambol.

The more serious-minded and mature students — the second-graders – were busy working another part of the Kermit R Booker Sr. Innovative Elementary School field, where four box gardens — decorated S, T, E, M for science, technology, engineering, and math — occupied one corner of the field.

There, volunteers from UNLV for the school’s Day of Service, in conjunction with volunteers from the Create a Change organization, showed the second-grade class how to plant seeds that would grow into vegetables the kids would eventually take home, and hopefully, in the process, begin a foundation of healthy eating.

The six students who went to Booker Elementary Sept. 29 were part of the Rebel Service Day, a once-per-semester volunteer outing that this fall saw 115 students, faculty and staff combine to serve at 10 different non-profit sites in Las Vegas for 230 community service hours.

  • A child works with a UNLV volunteer

    It took the kids a minute to come around to the UNLV volunteers like junior civil engineering major Isaiah Burist, but once they did, they eagerly worked packets of seeds into the soil, with a little help from their older counterparts. (Josh Hawkins / UNLV Creative Services)

  • Children plant seeds in a garden

    Senior biology student Roland Viernes had an eager audience. As seeds ran low, he told the kids "We're out of ammo, guys," to a resounding chorus of "Noooo!" Viernes had volunteered for other farming-related organizations before, and keeps a few plants of his own at home. 

    "I used to work at a job called KidsTime, he said. "I'm kind of used to their energy. They see the small things as kind of a game. That's how I had to implement it. Trying to make it about the fun times." (Josh Hawkins / UNLV Creative Services)

  • Children crowd around a UNLV student

    By the end of the morning, the kids were fully engaged, perching on the edge of the garden and peering in. Senior political science student Nina Terzian helps round up a few more seeds for distribution. (Josh Hawkins / UNLV Creative Services)

  • Popsicle sticks mark rows of plants

    When it was all said and done, popsicle-stick markers denoted careful rows of radishes, beets, peas and lettuce. (Josh Hawkins / UNLV Creative Services)

  • Two students pack teddy bears

    At the Assistance League, eight student volunteers helped prepare teddy bears that first-responders and charities could hand out to children in crisis. Palates of bears were unboxed and moved, assembly-line like, down a row of tables as workers added tiny T-shirts, then bagged them up for distribution to organizations like Safe Nest, the Salvation Army, Metro Police Department and the Henderson police and fire departments.

    Junior public health major Meron Shawul, left, and Anna Gozem, senior, pre-professional biology, get the bears dressed and ready to go.

  • A student tosses a teddy bear to a colleague

    Darin McCracken, right, a junior hospitality management student, didn't know anything about the Assistance League before he volunteered. 

    "My niece is actually here with me, she goes to the university also. She said 'hey, are you available that day?' I wasn't even familiar with Asssitance League before, but all the things they do, it sounds like a really cool organization. I'm actually going to go back and talk to [the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality] community service manager and see if this is something we want to get in, maybe the spring semester. We're always looking for opportunities to give back to the community."

    Human services student, junior Valerie Lujan, plays a little teddy bear basketball with McCracken at the league's Sahara Avenue thrift shop.