LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - For the last year, students at Viterbo University and people from the community have been serving many different organizations in La Crosse and beyond.
It's all part of Service Saturdays at the university.
Saturday students and others from the area are coming together to celebrate one year of Service Saturdays.
This time last year students at Viterbo designed 'Service Saturdays' to give back to the community.
The first Service Saturday started with about 15 volunteers, but that number grew in no time.
"Today we're at four to five sites and we have over 50 people volunteering," said Jacob Hart, house coordinator at Place of Grace.
One Saturday of every month, students and volunteers break up into groups to serve various organizations in the area.
So far they've helped 11 organizations.
"Hixon forest, you know cleaning out invasive species, and cleaning out brush that needs to get done over there, the salvation army we helped out the thrift store last year, and then just being involved with the youth has been huge too, we go to the children's museum probably once every two months," said Hart.
In the last year, about 200 volunteers have been a part of "Service Saturdays" and site leaders say they didn't expect the mission to grow as much as it did.
"While we were planning it, and we had the committee, it was hard to even get student leaders, for this so I think one of the biggest accomplishments has been that it lasted and we had one for every single month," Hart said.
Volunteer coordinators say in the beginning stages, many students were signing up to fulfill mandatory service hours for their classes.
But that changed.
"We ask them why do service Saturdays when they sign up for their day and a majority of them do it because they want to serve and they really enjoy being a part of our group," said Nicole Fronek, a volunteer coordinator.
"It's actually a very good experience to be a part of your community and to know that you can make a difference even while you're a university student."
Today students and volunteers helped out at La Crosse parks and recreation, La Crosse Children's Museum and the Wafer food pantry.
Students also helped prepare food for an upcoming meal at Place of Grace.
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