This past Saturday, Nov. 9, many students took on the classic fall task of raking leaves for members of the Wooster community through an event titled “Rake a Difference.” Rake a Difference is an annual event organized by the Wooster Volunteer Network (WVN) that allows college students to connect to the larger Wooster community. At Rake a Difference, volunteers had the opportunity to rake yards around Wooster while spending time with their friends and members of various organizations on campus. The event is a great time for students to unwind while also helping the city out; moreover, ending in donuts and cider, the event was rewarding in many different ways. Many different groups on campus came out to volunteer, including different Greek groups and sports teams. A member of Delta Theta Psi, Emma Teichert ’24, reflects on her experience at the event. She said, “I had the opportunity to walk with members of my sorority to community member’s houses and rake some leaves. It felt rewarding to help people who otherwise may have not been able to have a clean yard.” Not only was this an opportunity to volunteer in the community, but it also allowed teams and groups to work together and bond through helping others. When asked why she chose to volunteer at the event, Jenna Rashid ’25 said that, “Rake a Difference was a great way to help the community around Wooster. Even something as little as raking leaves can make someone’s day better.”
Looking at the operational side of the event, members of WVN explained the process of putting Rake a Difference together. The organization walked door-to-door around the community in order to pass out flyers for the event and determine what yards needed to be raked. They then mapped out multiple paths throughout the city to ensure that all of the yards were covered. Next, they passed out flyers around campus to have as much outreach as possible, allowing awareness to be spread about the event resulting in a large number of volunteers. When it was time to go out, volunteers headed out to houses that had a flyer left in their front door as a way to signal that they wanted their yard to be raked. Although it seemed like a volunteer opportunity that arose out of thin air, there was a significant amount of planning that went into this event in order to make it a success. Kyle Stringer ’24, an executive member of WVN, said that “The event was a really good way for the College to give back to the community. We had over 100 volunteers going door to door around the neighboring community of the campus to help rake leaves. I was really proud of how we all came together to really provide a simple service that could make people’s day better.” With the amazing turnout of the event this year, WVN is already looking forward to organizing it again next year.
Rake a Difference is one of the largest community outreach volunteer events that the College organizes. It bridges the gap between the city and the college campus, and allows students to interact directly with community members. Another volunteer, Izzy Manche ’23 said, “Yard work is something that I feel gets overlooked when thinking about community volunteering, but getting to see how appreciative some of the homeowners were really put its importance into perspective for me.” Volunteering is so important, and there is no doubt that Rake a Difference not only made many community members’ days, but also allowed students to see how big of an impact they can have.
Visit Wooster Volunteer Network on Instagram @wooster_volunteer_network to find out more about upcoming events.