Second Annual 'Gives Back' Event a Success

Brooks alumni joined forces this weekend to give back in their local communities, together.

The second-annual Brooks Gives Back event rallied about 40 participants – between Brooks alums, parents and friends – who volunteered in Boston, Chicago and Washington, D.C., on Saturday, and in New York City on Sunday.

Brooks alumni in Chicago helped out at Cradles to Crayons.

Volunteers spent up to three hours helping out at organizations that benefit children and families following the direction of a Brooks host in coordination with each organization's on-site leader.

The Boston group, hosted by Carly Churchill '10, assistant director of alumni programs, and the Chicago crew, hosted by the Alumni Board's events committee head Nick Ziebarth '95, both donated their time and energy at Cradles to Crayons, which helps to provide local children with the essentials they need at home, at school and at play.

Brooks alumni in Boston at Cradles to Crayons.

The D.C. event led by Shannon Clark '99 and Will Collier '11 helped out at the Capital Area Food Bank, sorting and packing thousands of pounds of food to area families. The New York City team hosted by Tom Armstead '89, meanwhile, contributed to the efforts at Xavier Mission serving hot meals.

Brooks alumni in Washington, D.C., at the Capital Area Food Bank.

Brooks alumni in New York City at the Xavier Mission.

"This is a great event for Brooksians to participate in because it is a simple way to give back to our communities," said Churchill. "It is rewarding work." And that is true in many ways, it turns out.

In addition to helping others, volunteers at Brooks Gives Back are helping themselves broaden their social life and their connection to Brooks. "It's fun to meet fellow alumni who I wouldn't normally meet otherwise," Churchill added. "And it's really cool to connect Brooks alumni from different eras and compare stories. Working toward a common goal of helping others is a great bonding experience."

Visit the Alumni Events page to find information about the gatherings and happenings for Brooks alums throughout the year.

That's the experience Collier felt in Washington, D.C., too. "The Brooks group at the Capital Area Food Bank was made up of alums from four different decades, including some from the 70's in town from New York for a classmate's wedding," he said.

While socializing, the volunteers were able to pack "hundreds, if not thousands, of bags of food and large pallets of fresh fruit and vegetables destined for schools in the greater D.C. area," he added. "And the great thing about it was how effectively and efficiently we were able to do the work while keeping everyone involved and continuing to chat and get to know one another."

Volunteering isn't everyone's typical go-to for weekend fun, Collier acknowledged. But Brooks Gives Back makes the effort well worth trying something new. "I have always found that most people need a little bit of a nudge to meet new people, and a bit of a nudge to give back to their communities," he said. "And having these events fall under the Brooks umbrella makes it easier for some folks to step out of their routine."

See a collection of photos from the event here.

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