Michaela Pitman of Big Stone Gap, Va., a sophomore in political science in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences was the first participant of the Remember-Serve-Learn Initiative to complete her service.

Homework help begins at 3:30 p.m. at Fun143, an after-school program sponsored by the Blacksburg United Methodist Church. Elementary-aged children are welcomed to the Blacksburg Estates location with a snack and then it’s time to get to work.  For the next hour and a half one-on-one homework assistance is available for children who live in the area by volunteers including Pitman.

The initiative is one of VT Engage: The Community Learning Collaborative’s newest programs. The initiative honors the National Day of Service, Sept. 11, and the university's Day of Remembrance, by mobilizing students, faculty, staff, and alumni to serve their communities with a focus in emergency assistance or working with at-risk youth. Every volunteer is personally matched with a local organization supporting these causes.

Pitman’s service with Fun143 allowed her to fulfill her service learning requirement, volunteer for an organization she was interested in and participate in the initiative. According to Pitman, “I immediately thought it was a great cause, and jumped at the opportunity to participate.”

Pitman is just one of many students participating in Remember-Serve-Learn Initiative. The program has ignited interest from both students and community organizations. Nonprofit organizations have continued to sign onto the project, allowing participants to volunteer in a variety of organizations throughout the New River and Roanoke valleys.

Jessi Preussner, program manager for the initiative, has watched the program grow since its inception in Sept. 2012.  “Seeing the first person complete their hours is very exciting. I think we will make a significant impact in the community through [the initiative] and I look forward to seeing the numbers of volunteers continue to grow.”

  • Wednesday, Jan. 30, will provide students an opportunity to register in person and to meet with organizations. The Remember-Serve-Learn Iniatiative will host a volunteer recruitment event from 4 to 7 p.m. in the Torgersen Museum. Organizations including, the YMCA at Virginia Tech, Feeding America, and The Boys and Girls Club will be available to meet with students.

In response to the question, would you recommend the program to others? Pitman enthusiastically responds, “Yes. You give so much, but in return, you get back so much more. The gift of service is truly priceless.”

Haven’t signed up to participate yet? Stop by the volunteer fair and register in person or contact Jessi Preussner.