By: Joseph Garcia —
Freshman woke up early Saturday morning to meet in the SAC’s Ballroom and participate in ELSB’s (Engage, Lead, Serve Board) Day of Student Outreach Uniting Louisville. The event is meant to highlight the service and leadership opportunities at U of L and allows students to explore Louisville’s diverse communities. Service projects ranged from helping the community’s many non-profit organizations to simply cleaning up trash around the city.
President Neeli Bendapudi, Mayor Greg Fischer, and Congressman John Yarmuth visited the event and greeted students while thanking them for giving back to the city. Fischer remarked how the event was the University’s love letter to Louisville. Fischer went on to say that Louisville is a city of three core values, “it is a city of life long learning, a city of helping others, and a city of compassion—compassion meaning respect for every one of our citizens. The service work today embodies all three of those values.”
“It’s very exciting to see a lot of freshmen who want to give back to the city,” senior marketing major Elshadi Smith-Mensah said. Mensah has worked with ELSB on various projects throughout her four years at U of L and described SOUL as a great event that strengthens the bond between the University and the city.
Mensah led a small group of nine students to New Legacy Reentry Corporation, a faith based non-profit organization started by Paul and Gisela Nelson. The program aids male ex-offenders with housing and teaches them skills that they can use to find jobs and reassimilate into society.
U of L students in Mensah’s group split into two groups. One group boxed clothes in one of the upper offices so that it could be remodeled and the other group went downstairs to the basement to reorganize canned goods and clean.
Afterwards, Gisela Nelson thanked the students for coming and volunteering. Nelson told them how their contribution “makes a huge difference in the morale and the self-esteem of the men who live here.”
“Going to New Legacy taught me so much more about incarceration and how hard it is for people to adjust to life afterwards,” freshman Zach Johnson said after his visit. “It’s important to do whatever is possible for each person so that they can break the cycles of imprisonment.”
“Volunteering brings people closer to old friends and new ones. Not only that, but SOUL reminded me how much growth and learning is achieved through helping others,” Johnson said.
Photo by Joseph Garcia / The Louisville Cardinal