COLUMBIA, SC — Eager to encourage and promote acts of community service and volunteerism, area government, education, business and military leaders on Tuesday unveiled an intensive week of service planned for Columbia in late April.
Mayor Steve Benjamin announced the One Columbia CityServe effort that’s hoped to spawn various new improvement projects across the area while building on many already in place.
“Imagine what would happen if we all gave one hour to something bigger than ourselves?” Benjamin asked as he outlined the cooperative effort that would create more roadside clean-ups, community gardens, tutoring programs and various other community improvement efforts.
Targeted projects will focus on health, housing, hunger, education and beautification. The exact work, to be completed the week of April 20, will be determined in the coming weeks and added to the CityServe website. Residents are being asked to consider the type of service they would like to offer and either choose a related activity from the website or suggest projects of their own.
Benjamin was joined for Tuesday’s announcement at EdVenture children’s museum by Fort Jackson commander Brig. Gen. Bryan Roberts, SCANA vice president Paul V. Fant and Patricia Moore-Pastides, the wife of University of South Carolina president, Harris Pastides.
Moore-Pastides said she has been overwhelmed by the spirit of volunteerism she has seen since moving to the area with her family years ago, adding the planned week of service could help further channel that energy.
“I think it represents a spirit of giving,” she said.
Benjamin said the effort, which has been a year in the making, grew out of numerous community discussions and doesn’t discount the many outstanding service project efforts already in place locally.
“It’s a combination of new projects and some old ones in the works,” he said.
Roberts said communitywide involvement is essential, and Fort Jackson will be very visible that week and going forward.
“We no longer consider ourselves a partner,” Roberts said. “We consider ourselves members of the team.”
Organizers say the success of the initial effort will be measured largely by the number of participants, projects and service hours but added the greater measure will be how lasting those efforts are.
“We hope this will be ongoing,” Moore-Pastides said.