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Annual Serve Day returns to Danville

Large-scale volunteer event continues to draw crowds in pandemic era

Volunteers pose in the midst of a project for last year's Serve Day event. (Image courtesy CPC)

Danville's Community Presbyterian Church (CPC) hosted their annual Serve Day event this weekend, aimed at promoting and celebrating local volunteers in the community, as well as getting work done for a wide range of nonprofit and community-oriented organizations.

"It's the coolest thing we do all year," CPC's Lead Pastor Tyler Scott said. "Instead of holding our normal worship services, we invite people to join the movement of more than 2,000 volunteers as we serve others and show we are for the Valley, the Bay Area, and the world."

The event -- which attracted a record-setting number of approximately 2,100 volunteers last year -- has come to be one of the largest volunteer gatherings in the Tri-Valley, attracting partnerships with more than 30 organizations this year.

Deana Dickerson, director of missions for CPC, said that partnering with both secular and faith-based organizations was particularly important for the event's purpose of bringing people together in the name of serving others.

"In our case ...being for others is changing the world, and we invite anyone to be a part of that," Dickerson said.

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In addition to welcoming partnerships with secular organizations, Dickerson said that it was important for Serve Day to draw community members from outside the church.

"When I look at the scope of names of people who are signing up, probably half...are people who are not associated with our church," Dickerson said.

Nonetheless, she pointed to CPC's more than 150 years of history of being motivated by a philosophy of service to others and the world at large, rather than just one's self.

"When you think of that kind of history in a place, that's pretty significant given that so much in our culture and day-to-day changes," Dickerson said.

She added that the long history also means that CPC is known by the community, which also helps with attracting the wide range of organizations and community members at the center of Serve Day.

"Over the years we've created a name for ourselves to be known in our community, to step up and be available," Dickerson said.

Dickerson also noted that the church's mission and image is aimed at standing out from some other religious groups.

"A lot of times churches have been known for what they're against but we want to know what we're for," Dickerson said.

In an affluent area like Danville, Dickerson said community members whose eyes are opened to the unaddressed needs of underserved populations can be especially impacted by the experience of volunteering.

"I feel like we live in a bubble in a bubble...I want so badly to just pop open all the bubbles and open my eyes to something other than myself, and volunteering is a great way to do that," DIckerson said.

Dickerson also noted that living in a region known for its relatively well-to-do population means that those who are suffering financially might be less likely to seek or find needed help.

"I was shocked to find out there were people in our school district right here in Danville living out of their cars," Dickerson said. "That is a rare situation for where we live, but that is a reality."

"There are these things that go unseen because I think there's an assumption about this area, but sometimes you peel back the layers and there's still considerable hurt and pain, but it might just present itself differently. There might be a little less visible poverty, but there's a poverty of spirit."

In addition, Dickerson noted that the rise in mental health struggles in recent years has impacted communities regardless of income.

"It's easy to make assumptions about our valley, that everyone has their stuff together, and sometimes it's not the case," Dickerson said. "The stigma around therapy and maybe counseling is not as prevalent anymore (but) I think there are a lot of people who suffer quietly and don't reach out."

With the additional blows to physical and mental health brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, CPC leaders emphasized the value that volunteer work can have on overall well-being, and the continued influx of community members seeking ways to help others.

"I think there's something empowering about learning and knowing you can make a difference," Dickerson said. "When you realize there is a need and you can help meet that need, it's really empowering."

While the San Ramon Valley is full of ambitious young volunteers who are particularly impacted by this lesson, Dickerson emphasized that just a small time commitment can be valuable for people of all ages.

"We live in a very, very busy place, and I think everyone's involved in a lot of different things and pulled in a lot of directions, and our culture too trains us in the art of impatience," Dickerson said. "(But) there's nothing better than just to spend an hour a weekend giving back. Nothing compares to the feeling of helping someone else, and sometimes in our busyness we forget how uplifting that is to ourselves. It brings us back to what's important in life, not just the things we do all the time."

Although spots in many projects for this weekend's Serve Day are filling up, CPC leaders said that there were still numerous openings with the Pleasanton-based organization Kids Against Hunger, as well as with the Crayon Initiative, which is geared towards the communities youngest volunteers.

"It's perfect for littles because all its doing is putting colors with colors," Dickerson said. "There are other projects where someone in their 80s or 90s can sit and do stuff also."

Serve Day is scheduled for Oct. 1 and Oct. 2. Registration and more information are available here.

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Jeanita Lyman
Jeanita Lyman joined the Pleasanton Weekly in September 2020 and covers the Danville and San Ramon beat. She studied journalism at Skyline College and Mills College while covering the Peninsula for the San Mateo Daily Journal, after moving back to the area in 2013. Read more >>

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Annual Serve Day returns to Danville

Large-scale volunteer event continues to draw crowds in pandemic era

by / Danville San Ramon

Uploaded: Mon, Oct 3, 2022, 4:48 am

Danville's Community Presbyterian Church (CPC) hosted their annual Serve Day event this weekend, aimed at promoting and celebrating local volunteers in the community, as well as getting work done for a wide range of nonprofit and community-oriented organizations.

"It's the coolest thing we do all year," CPC's Lead Pastor Tyler Scott said. "Instead of holding our normal worship services, we invite people to join the movement of more than 2,000 volunteers as we serve others and show we are for the Valley, the Bay Area, and the world."

The event -- which attracted a record-setting number of approximately 2,100 volunteers last year -- has come to be one of the largest volunteer gatherings in the Tri-Valley, attracting partnerships with more than 30 organizations this year.

Deana Dickerson, director of missions for CPC, said that partnering with both secular and faith-based organizations was particularly important for the event's purpose of bringing people together in the name of serving others.

"In our case ...being for others is changing the world, and we invite anyone to be a part of that," Dickerson said.

In addition to welcoming partnerships with secular organizations, Dickerson said that it was important for Serve Day to draw community members from outside the church.

"When I look at the scope of names of people who are signing up, probably half...are people who are not associated with our church," Dickerson said.

Nonetheless, she pointed to CPC's more than 150 years of history of being motivated by a philosophy of service to others and the world at large, rather than just one's self.

"When you think of that kind of history in a place, that's pretty significant given that so much in our culture and day-to-day changes," Dickerson said.

She added that the long history also means that CPC is known by the community, which also helps with attracting the wide range of organizations and community members at the center of Serve Day.

"Over the years we've created a name for ourselves to be known in our community, to step up and be available," Dickerson said.

Dickerson also noted that the church's mission and image is aimed at standing out from some other religious groups.

"A lot of times churches have been known for what they're against but we want to know what we're for," Dickerson said.

In an affluent area like Danville, Dickerson said community members whose eyes are opened to the unaddressed needs of underserved populations can be especially impacted by the experience of volunteering.

"I feel like we live in a bubble in a bubble...I want so badly to just pop open all the bubbles and open my eyes to something other than myself, and volunteering is a great way to do that," DIckerson said.

Dickerson also noted that living in a region known for its relatively well-to-do population means that those who are suffering financially might be less likely to seek or find needed help.

"I was shocked to find out there were people in our school district right here in Danville living out of their cars," Dickerson said. "That is a rare situation for where we live, but that is a reality."

"There are these things that go unseen because I think there's an assumption about this area, but sometimes you peel back the layers and there's still considerable hurt and pain, but it might just present itself differently. There might be a little less visible poverty, but there's a poverty of spirit."

In addition, Dickerson noted that the rise in mental health struggles in recent years has impacted communities regardless of income.

"It's easy to make assumptions about our valley, that everyone has their stuff together, and sometimes it's not the case," Dickerson said. "The stigma around therapy and maybe counseling is not as prevalent anymore (but) I think there are a lot of people who suffer quietly and don't reach out."

With the additional blows to physical and mental health brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, CPC leaders emphasized the value that volunteer work can have on overall well-being, and the continued influx of community members seeking ways to help others.

"I think there's something empowering about learning and knowing you can make a difference," Dickerson said. "When you realize there is a need and you can help meet that need, it's really empowering."

While the San Ramon Valley is full of ambitious young volunteers who are particularly impacted by this lesson, Dickerson emphasized that just a small time commitment can be valuable for people of all ages.

"We live in a very, very busy place, and I think everyone's involved in a lot of different things and pulled in a lot of directions, and our culture too trains us in the art of impatience," Dickerson said. "(But) there's nothing better than just to spend an hour a weekend giving back. Nothing compares to the feeling of helping someone else, and sometimes in our busyness we forget how uplifting that is to ourselves. It brings us back to what's important in life, not just the things we do all the time."

Although spots in many projects for this weekend's Serve Day are filling up, CPC leaders said that there were still numerous openings with the Pleasanton-based organization Kids Against Hunger, as well as with the Crayon Initiative, which is geared towards the communities youngest volunteers.

"It's perfect for littles because all its doing is putting colors with colors," Dickerson said. "There are other projects where someone in their 80s or 90s can sit and do stuff also."

Serve Day is scheduled for Oct. 1 and Oct. 2. Registration and more information are available here.

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