The Homeward Bound Walk/Run has recruited honorary chairs from five local colleges and universities, boosting campus and community participation in the benefit event for the sixth CommUniversity Day on April 5.
The two events united last year, with the walk/run to fight homelessness from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and CommUniversity Day projects from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., followed by a closing picnic at the Robinson Community Learning Center.
“Both of us were having the same challenge – how do we get more people in the community and more colleges to participate,” says Duane Wilson, advanced skills program director at the Robinson Community Learning Center, chair of the Homeward Bound walk, who helps coordinate CommUniversity Day projects at the center.
“We partnered last year and said ‘let’s do it the same day.’ We’ve got a bunch of people in the same spot who want to make a difference in the community. That really boosted the energy level.”
The morning event addresses homelessness and affordable housing with a fund raising walk and run that attracts 350 to 400 people. Homeward Bound, a collaboration of the Robinson Center, the Center for the Homeless, Habitat for Humanity, Hope Ministries, Hanna’s House and Bridges out of Poverty, works with the Indiana Association for Community and Economic Development to elevate housing opportunities.
In the afternoon, students, faculty, and other community residents work together on community gardens, painting, cleanup, and other projects at the Northeast Neighborhood, the Martin Luther King Jr. Center, the Center for the Homeless, Unity Gardens and local parks.
To boost participation, Homeward Bound recruited Scott Hancock of IU South Bend, Alex Coccia of the University of Notre Dame, Kathleen Sullivan of Saint Mary’s College, Jacob Busscher of Bethel College and Molly White of Holy Cross College as honorary chairs.
“It’s really a first,” Wilson says. “Their challenge and task is to recruit 20 students each. We have their commitment, we have their involvement, and their students are signing up. That hopefully will translate into the CommUniversity Day. This has been a great fit for us.”
For more information, go to http://rclc.nd.edu and click on CommUniversity Day.