Helping Hands

by Jessica Boggs '03

City Links 2002: Neighbors Working Together brought together approximately 1,300 people from the city of Azusa, Azusa Pacific University, and the Azusa Unified School District on September 21, 2002 for various work projects in the city.

Thirty-two sites were impacted by the volunteers in a variety of service projects including gardening, painting, reading to children, and neighborhood clean-up.

One of the most important aspects of the day, according to Tim Hooten, director of APU’s Office of Ministry and Service, was the commissioning of the students before they left for their work sites. Hooten challenged students to not be so overcome with completing their tasks that they forgot what the day was truly about—making relations with the community.

The bulk of volunteers from Azusa Pacific were freshmen enrolled in Beginnings, a class intended to transition freshmen into college life. “City Links introduces service, and our community, to incoming students,” said Hooten. “It helps set the pace for the next four years.” All APU faculty, staff, and students were also encouraged to participate in the day’s events.

Marti Villanueva, an Azusa resident, coordinated a site where APU students interacted with neighborhood children. “Some of the neighborhood kids were shy at first and wouldn’t come out and join us,” said Villanueva. “However, it wasn’t too long before they were making banners and singing songs with us. The students interacted with the kids, gave them hope, and told them about college--something some kids had never heard of before.”