Last August several hundred of Milledgeville’s newest residents got to know the local area a little better as they volunteered their time and energy in sprucing up the community during the first-ever GC Gives project. 

The large-scale community service project, a local partnership between Georgia College’s GIVES Center and Keep Milledgeville Baldwin Beautiful, returns next month in what is hoped to be an even bigger and better event. 

The aim of GC Gives is to give incoming Georgia College freshmen an introduction to the community through area service projects where they learn more about local organizations and other non-profits beyond the college campus and meet new people. 

The hope is that these students will come to know more about the community beyond campus and that the experience will make their stay in Milledgeville have a more lasting impact as they make local connections. 

Students work in groups on service projects. Last year the incoming freshman class of volunteers helped spruce up playgrounds at elementary schools, cleaned up at the Oconee River Greenway and Lockerly and did activities with residents at the Georgia War Veterans Home and local nursing homes. 

The projects hopefully place these students a little outside of the comfort zones and enhance their college experience. Some will visit neighborhoods and parts of the community that they likely otherwise would have never ventured to. 

The local community can get involved as well. Local business sponsors purchase supplies and materials for the various projects — anything from providing funds to buy paint or mulch to even building supplies. Additionally, the local community, as well as GC faculty and staff members, are encouraged to chip in on projects as well. 

It all takes place the Saturday after the annual GC Week of Welcome, on Aug. 17. 

The local community and the college community should get behind this effort to make it a community tradition. 

This is an opportunity for residents as well as GIVES Day volunteers to take ownership in helping make the local community shine a little brighter. This is a chance to impart change — and be the change that residents wish to see in their community. Residents can set an indelible example for these students and other local young people to follow by taking part not only this weekend but regularly in efforts to beautify the local community. 

Let GC Gives serve as the start of a ripple effect and let’s watch where it goes from here.

Those interested can sign up on the website, and organizations can also register their service projects online.

For more information, to volunteer, or request student help for a service project, visit www.gcgives.net. and be the change that residents wish to see in their community. 

React to this story: