This past Saturday, April 13, hundreds of University students came out to participate in the Madison House BIG Event. Through service-oriented activities at various locations around Charlottesville, the BIG Event promotes campus and community unity as students come together for one day to express their gratitude for the support from the surrounding community.
The event was focused on celebrating Baddeliyanage’s memories and positive impacts on the community.
The University community hosted a “Celebration of Life” event Sunday morning in Old Cabell Hall for Rehan Baddeliyanage, the fourth-year Engineering student who unexpectedly passed away in an accident over spring break. The remembrance event was followed by a reception in the McIntire School of Commerce’s Art Gallery and Courtyard. Approximately 200 people were in attendance.
More than 200 volunteers spent the day working at one of 29 job sites as part of the fifth annual BIG Event, a one-day event sponsored by Madison House, the independent, nonprofit UVA student volunteer center.
Although University students regularly spend time on community service throughout the year, working through Madison House and other programs, the annual event brings out a concentrated group effort every spring. Started in 2015, it’s one day when students come together to express their gratitude for the surrounding community and its ongoing support.
Fourth-year College student Alex Cintron is the first Latinx Student Council president in the University’s history.
As the first Latinx Student Council president in the University’s history Cintron said that, while he felt uncomfortable in some environments which the position required him to engage with, his perspective empowered him to act differently than previous Student Council presidents.
“This is my form of resisting what has been the normal narrative for Student Council president,” Cintron said.
Influential Madison House program allows volunteer musicians to play for patients during long hospital stays.
When fourth-year College student Grant Frazier decided to combine his passions of music and medicine, he began working with Madison House to bring music into the hospital setting. This idea led to the creation of Harmonies for Healing, a program which sends three student musicians to the University’s Transitional Care Hospital each day with hopes of improving the lives of both patients and medical staff.
Every year, I pick up a different Madison House program as well, it just depends on what's going to fit my schedule the best! Through Madison House, I've volunteered with New Century Hospice, where I would act as a companion once a week to patients. As a companion, my job was mainly reading, playing board games, passing the time, or just listening to what the patients wanted to say. I initially joined because I was pre-med at the time, but I stayed with the program for the eye-opening and rewarding experience. It was decidedly the most difficult volunteering experience I've ever had, due to the nature of the position. But I always felt like I was doing something that mattered; a little act of kindness goes a long way.
When I first became a student at UVA, I was so impressed with all the great programs available in Charlottesville and through Madison House that allowed for interaction and mentorship between kids in the community and college-age students. I was eager to get involved with one of the nearby elementary schools, and I was told about the great work that Abundant Life had been doing at Johnson Elementary. Soon after, I began attending the afternoon tutoring sessions at the school and working with a second grader named Abdikhayr. Our time together has continued on this year, and I still see him once a week as he is moving along through the third grade.
The panel discussed how civic engagement can look like anything from going to Charlottesville City Council meetings to simply getting off Grounds.
Freilich said community service like through the Madison House is a great way to do that.
"The most important part is personal relationship," he said. "That way our students are hearing the stories of folks in the community and gaining first-hand knowledge of what's actually happening here in Charlottesville."
Matt Wajsgras, a fourth-year Engineering student and Madison House HALO program director, said his experience volunteering helped him better understand the Charlottesville community surrounding the University.
“When you get a new guest that hasn’t been there before one of the first things they do is they’ll come up and ask about case managers and what options they have for affordable housing and stuff,” Wajsgras said. “So you do hear a lot about it, and you can tell it’s something that’s one of the primary issues.”
UVA’s 750 student-athletes routinely take time out from classes, practices and games to volunteer in the community – in schools, in hospitals, at Habitat for Humanity builds, assisted-living facilities, Special Olympics events and more.
Some of UVA’s student-athletes volunteer through Athletes Committed to Education, or ACE, a Madison House program that connects more than 50 student-athletes to local elementary schools. They visit the schools on a weekly basis, allowing them to form strong bonds with students week after week, year after year.
Jaime Lear is a second-year chemistry major with a sign language minor. Currently, Jaime volunteers through Madison House as a patient ambassador at the hospital where she fulfills deliveries and special requests from patients by visiting the different floors with a cart of entertaining things to offer, such as magazines or crossword puzzles.
An Echols Scholar and a College Science Scholar, Cheng also received the 2018 George C. and Carroll F.M. Seward Scholarship (a College of Arts & Sciences Deans’ Scholarship), a College of Arts & Sciences Small Research and Travel Grant and the Laurie Lee Woolen Memorial Scholarship. A dean’s list student and recipient of Intermediate Honors, she chairs the College Science Scholars Council; is a program director for the Madison House Adopt-a-Grandparent Program….
An Echols Scholar and College Science Scholar, Dove-Anna Johnson is a member of the Daniel Hale PreMed Honor Society; American Medical Student Association; the Undergraduate Research Network; OneWay InterVarsity Christian Fellowship; the Cavalier Symphony Orchestra; and is a Madison House volunteer for Medical Services.
Caroline Hallowell is a second-year in the College of Arts & Sciences and serves as the Head Program Director for Madison House's Summer Programs and as the Coordinating Program Director for Madison House Medical Services. Caroline also is a volunteer in the Acute Pediatric Program at UVA Health System and a Project SERVE Site Leader.
The event was hosted by the Madison House, an independent volunteer student center.
"Hosting the IMPACT conference has been a chance for us to bring over 550 or so students and administrators from around the country here to Charlottesville to learn from some of our incredible nonprofit leaders, local activists," stated Tim Freilich, Executive Director of Madison House.
“When access to food is not consistent and dependable, a household is classified as food insecure,” Jane Colony Mills, Loaves & Fishes’ executive director, said. A UVA alumna, Mills herself volunteered with Madison House in a different program when she was a student.
Children make up almost 36 percent of the clientele served at the food pantry, and the percentage of senior citizens has more than doubled to nearly 14 percent, Mills said.
Janee Murray is a fourth-year in the College of Arts & Sciences double-majoring in Foreign Affairs and History. Janee is involved with the University's service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega; volunteers with both Madison House and the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center; and has been recognised by Student Council as a Service Scholar.
On Saturday, January 26th, 2019, Madison House will hold a food drive in celebration of #CharterDay. We encourage all those who wish to donate to bring at least one item from the list shared below. Thank you for helping to combat food insecurity within our Charlottesville community!
“Offered through the English department’s Academic and Professional Writing Program, “Tutoring Writing Across Cultures” goes deeper than teaching pedagogy. It encourages students to understand the people whom they are tutoring and take into account their native writing styles. Taught by Kate Kostelnik, an assistant professor of English, the writing seminar incorporates service learning, in partnership with Madison House, the independent, nonprofit volunteer center for UVA students.”
“One of more than 20 community service programs of Madison House – the independent, nonprofit volunteer center for UVA students – Holiday Sharing annually partners with the Salvation Army to provide local, low-income families with food and presents to help make their holidays merry.”
Vikram Seshadri is a third-year in the School of Engineering and Applied Science majoring in biomedical engineering. Vikram is the program director for Madison House's new program, "The Gym," a member of HELPline's outreach committee, and also works as a mentor for Autism Allies. He's also an Eagle Scout!
Julia Hohenstein is a third-year in the McIntire School of Commerce, concentrating in Finance and IT and also double-majoring in statistics. Julia is the co-chair of the Madison House Board of Directors, a board that is comprised of five student members and 10 community members. She has also volunteered with Madison House as a tutor and an income tax preparation assistant through the program CASH. Additionally, Julia participated in Alternative Spring Break during both her first and second years. Her first trip was to Portland, OR, where she worked with Portland Parks and Recreation. The following year, Julia attended the Death Valley, CA, trip where she worked with the National Parks Service. Both trips were programs that focused on environmental stewardship. Finally, Julia also serves on the Public Service Programming Board, an organization that strives to provide funding for student-run service projects that benefit the community.
“Running a marathon can be a solitary pursuit, so over the past few years I’ve tried to make it about more than just me,” [President Ryan] said. “In the past I’ve run for teachers, but this time I’ll be running to support Madison House, which does incredible work helping students serve the community. I want to thank everyone who is donating to help them do even more.”
“El día de hoy es para celebrar tanto el servicio como la comunidad y cuando se trata de la comunidad, lo que a mí me parece increíblemente importante es construir puentes”, dijo el presidente de la Universidad, Jim Ryan.
Como parte de la celebración inaugural del presidente de la Universidad Jim Ryan este fin de semana pasado, se llevó a cabo un evento de “Celebración de Servicio” el sábado en el McIntire Amphitheater [Anfiteatro de McIntire] para enfatizar el compromiso de Ryan como el noveno presidente de la U.Va. al servicio público y para devolver a la comunidad local.
El evento público gratuito acentuó las organizaciones locales sin fines de lucro dirigidas por estudiantes y en el área de Charlottesville, incluyendo Madison House [Casa Madison] y otras organizaciones independientes contratadas.
La Casa Madison es una organización de voluntarios sin fines de lucro, la cual no está afiliada con la Universidad, y ubicada en 170 Rugby Road, cerca del Museo de Arte Fralin.
Rachel Newman is a fourth-year in the School of Engineering, majoring in biomedical engineering. She is the head program director for the Madison House recreational therapy program. Through the recreational therapy program, volunteers interact with individuals with physical or mental disabilities, helping others learn and develop essential life skills.
Sam Powers is a third-year in the College, majoring in Statistics and Religious Studies and the Masters in Public Health program. Sam is involved in Center for Global Health research and community-based research with the Legal Aid Justice Center. He also volunteers through the Madison House Music Mentoring program and is the Vice Chair for First Years on the University Judiciary Committee. Sam spent this summer in Rwanda as a Center for Global Health Scholar researching the relationship between faith-based and public healthcare systems and disparities in malnutrition.
University of Virginia student Wei Lin, who grew up in Centreville, remembers as a child going with his mother to the local library, where she could get help with the family taxes through the national Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.
“After the horrific events of Aug. 11 and 12 at the University and in downtown Charlottesville, Athena’s first thought was how to reassure area youth that they are loved,” said Madison House Executive Director Tim Freilich. “I’m happy that Madison House volunteers can help deliver that message.”