Imagery of Regent people and campus

Regent Participates in United Way Day of Caring

By Brett Wilson | September 17, 2013

Nicole Mendoza working outside of the Salvation Army Portsmouth Corps.

"I think our involvement today showed that we're willing to go back into the community where we've come from," said Japri Hyatte, Financial Aid counselor for Regent University. "It tells everyone that we not only care for our campus, we also care for our community."

Hyatte was one of 15 faculty and staff members to participate in the annual United Way Day of Caring on Friday, September 13. Each year, members of the Regent community dedicate a few hours of their workday in order to volunteer for various service projects within the Hampton Roads area.

"Regent's connection with the United Way Day of Caring exists because of a mutual love of our community—the university was founded within this community and has employed and educated thousands of South Hampton Roads residents," said Tracy Stewart, vice president for enrollment management and IT. "Working with United Way, we ensure that the residents in our community have a safety net."

This year, participants from Regent were deployed between the Salvation Army Portsmouth Corps and Campaign Community Alternatives for community beautification and cleanup projects. Tina Santom, special projects assistant for enrollment management, spent the day volunteering for Campaign Community Alternatives.

"I like making a place look nicer than it did when we first arrived—the work might not get done otherwise, and it's great to know we were a help to others," said Santom. "Also it was great working with members of the Regent family that I don't normally get to work with."

Like Santom, Rachael Wright, senior Financial Aid counselor, also enjoyed the opportunity to be involved in the beautification project for the Salvation Army, outside of her day-to-day duties.

"It's nice to come out here and do something good that you don't get to do every day," said Wright. "And it's nice to see Regent people working together outside of Regent."

Members of the Regent community also had the opportunity to connect with members of other organizations. Andrea Nelson, president of T-Solutions, Inc., a maintenance and engineering management company in Chesapeake, Va., brought her employees to the Salvation Army Portsmouth Corps. Nelson and her team aided in planting flowers, mulching and trimming shrubs.

"If you want to be a corporation in the community, you have to volunteer in the community," said Nelson. "It's a great way to spend the day with your employees—you build a special bond with them when you're outside of the office."

The United Way Day of Caring does not only succeed in engaging local businesspeople into the community, it also assists the organizations for which the event was originally intended.

"It gives us an opportunity to have some good work done," said Lieutenant John Blevins, corps officer for the Salvation Army. According to Blevins, community outreach days, such as this one, allow his team to receive thousands of dollars worth of work.

"That's money that we can give to the families who come to us for help," said Blevins. "And it makes a big impact."

Joe Cicero, '10 (Communication & the Arts), communications manager for Regent's Financial Aid office, explained that while he volunteered, he could see how Regent, as well as the community, was impacted by the special day of service.

"It's good that Regent is growing, and this shows that the university is becoming more widespread as a result."

As a former student, Cicero was also pleased to see the education he had received in school put into good use to change the world.

"This is putting into practice what we've been taught to do," said Cicero. "This is leadership—this is serving."


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