(Courtesy: Victory Programs)
The following is a press release from Victory Programs, a local nonprofit organization that provides housing and care services across 17 housing and treatment programs in Boston and in Cambridge:
Twenty incoming Boston University freshmen spent their first week of college outside the classroom, volunteering at Victory Programs’ Living and Recovering Community, a substance abuse program in Jamaica Plain for people living with HIV/AIDS.
“We were able to expose the students to a world that exists beyond their classroom walls,” says Don Drake, program director at LARC. “We wanted to put a face on the issue of HIV/AIDS and highlight the importance of volunteerism and political activism to keep programs running.”
The three day event began with an orientation where State Representative Elizabeth Malia and David Foley, Chief of Staff for State Representative Jeffrey Sanchez, addressed the students. They discussed the importance of funding projects for underserved populations in the state and how political activism can preserve services for those who depend upon them. Residents of the LARC program then spoke about their battles with substance abuse and managing their HIV/AIDS.
Over the next few days, the student volunteers engaged in several activities at LARC including cleaning, cooking, going to the food bank, and spending time with clients. The event culminated in a picnic at Franklin Park where clients, staff and volunteers interacted.
By the end of the event, many of the students had been so moved by their time at LARC that they requested volunteer applications. The event was organized by Victory Programs and the Boston University First-Year Student Outreach Project.