Give, Restore, Love


On the first Saturday of the new school year, after a week full of classes, meetings and receiving numerous syllabi, it is a Berry College tradition to send the first-year students, mentors and faculty advisors out into the Rome community. 

This year was no different with over 560 participants who volunteered at more than 30 different sites including the Public Animal Welfare Services facility, the William S. Davies Shelter for the homeless and the South Rome Community Garden, living out Berry's motto "Not to be ministered unto, but to minister."

“All over America today, at this moment, college students just like yourselves are sound asleep,” Katherine Powell, director of the Office of First-Year Experience, said in the morning. “But you guys are going out to make a difference.”

Freshman Savannah Kelley of Panama City Beach, Fla., volunteered at Garden Lakes Elementary School trimming bushes, painting flower pots and cleaning up around the school.

“My experience was amazing because we got to meet a faculty member of the school and saw how much she truly cared about the school,” Kelley said. “I really feel like we made a difference in the environment of the school for the kids that go there!” 

Alyssa Beasley, a First-Year Mentor and nursing major from Alpharetta, Ga., led her students in safehouse renovations at End Slavery Ga., an organization that fights against sex trafficking.

“First Year Service Day is such a special event because we all get the opportunity to participate in something bigger than ourselves,” Beasley said. “No matter how big or small the job is, we are doing meaningful work for those in need – and what a blessing that is!” 

Written by Public Relations Student Supervisor Alexi Bell. Photos by Staff Photographer Brant Sanderlin, and Student Photographers Jacob Bushey, Lindsey Campbell and Matthew McConnell.