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Spotlight on Walden // Apr 11, 2013

Walden Celebrates National Volunteer Week

National Volunteer Week, held this year from April 21 to 27, is about “inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities.” But for the Walden community, every week is volunteer week as our students and graduates strive to make an impact and effect positive social change across communities, countries, and continents.

For members of the Walden community in the Baltimore metro area, National Volunteer Week kicks off on Saturday, April 20, when students, graduates, faculty, and staff will come together in support of families who have a child with autism by assembling safety kits in recognition of April’s National Autism Awareness Month. The National Autism Association’s Big Red Safety Box contains materials to help prevent children with autism from wandering off from a safe environment and includes a shoe ID tag, a wristband, door alarms, window clings, a booklet with safety tips for families who have a member with autism, and more.

The kit materials were purchased by Walden, and the completed kits will be sent to National Autism Association headquarters to be distributed free of charge to families in need across the country. Walden community members in the area, their families, and friends are welcome to attend and help contribute to their community. Register today to participate.

In a similar community service project last month, faculty and staff from The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership assembled Big Red Safety Boxes as a team-building initiative. The project had extra meaning, not only for several members whose families have a child with autism, but for the group as professionals involved in preK–12 education.

“This important initiative took on a special relevance for the Riley College family, as we began to realize that so many of our students and alumni are educators who experience the effects of autism in their classrooms every day. It’s a good feeling to know that we are connecting to our community on so many levels by volunteering our time and talent on projects such as these,” said Dr. Kate Steffens, dean of the Riley College of Education and Leadership.

To support our mission and help our community members give back, Walden created the Walden Service Network, an online community that connects volunteers with service projects in need of support year-round. Since 2010, volunteers logged more than 652,500 service hours, which translate into more than $13,884,000 in services. More than 135,000 volunteer opportunities can now be found on the Walden Service Network, from building homes for those in need to stocking food banks to helping at local animal shelters. To find a volunteer opportunity, visit