Act of service for a day of fun

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By shardai perry, asst. features editor

By shardai perry, asst. features editor

Disney has created a whole new way to incorporate inspiration, fun and community service for the year of 2010, “Give a Day, Get a Day.”

Participants signed up for a day of volunteering in their community and after completing the philanthropic event they received a one-year long valid park pass to either Walt Disney World Resort or the Disneyland Resort.

The participants had the option of either receiving their ticket or donating it to a charity or organization.

Disney offered first come, first serve to one million people, and within weeks they reached their goal of a million volunteers.

The volunteering places ranged in many different categories.

The possible community service events included educational sessions with kids, feeding the homeless, cultural experiences, baseball game vendors, or even sidewalk sign holders.

One of the many places on the list for volunteering was the Inland Valley Hope Partners, located in the east end of Los Angeles.

Hope Partners is a non-profit agency. Their mission is to ensure the empowerment of people in need by providing food, shelter, and supportive services.

All this is made possible by the plethora of “partners” such as, their business partners, faith partners, individual donors and, of course, volunteers.

David Nelson has been volunteering at Inland Valley for about six months.

What started as just something to do, now occupies his time and heart.

“At first I just wanted to give back to the community, saying how thankful I am and hoping it pays off in someone’s life,” Nelson said.

Nelson runs the pantry. Between assisting the stock room, loading and unloading the food, and simply tidying up, he’s there five to six hours a day.

“I’ve been out of work for quite sometime and thought maybe working here would give me good references or maybe even a job hook-up. But if it doesn’t at least I’m still doing something with my life,” Nelson said.

Nelson as well as a few of the other volunteers that day took advantage of Disney’s Give a Day, Get a Day offer.

“Honestly, I took advantage of the offer because why not? But I’ve seen the people that come in and out of here and you can tell they’re just doing it for the freebee not because they sincerely want to help,” Nelson said.

Tom Burns was a first time volunteer at the Inland Hope, and his reward for the day would be a ticket to one of his favorite childhood places, Disneyland Resort.

“I frequently volunteer, so this isn’t out of my comfort zone or anything,” Burns said.

Burns actually used to work in a food warehouse, so for him this activity was quite familiar.

“It’s a really good exchange, actually a win-win because you get to give back and be rewarded,” Burns said.

The Inland Valley Hope Partners serves up to 75,000 children, women and men a year throughout the Inland Valley.

The organization goes through about 5,000 volunteers a year.

Marilyn Rose works in the volunteering department for Inland Hope, and according to her says it’s a big help when organizations do stuff like the give a day, get a day because they get a whole group of eager people wanting to help. This is not the first time Disney has reached out and most likely won’t be the last.

“We are very happy to have been apart of Disney’s Give a Day, Get a Day and even more thankful for the number of people we had that wanted to help our organization,” Rose said.

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