Coe College and Willis Dady Emergency Shelter partner with new volunteer initiative

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
(319) 399-8605 or rpritcha@coe.edu

2014-11-24 15:44:16 - General

Coe College and the Willis Dady Emergency Shelter are partnering on a new volunteer initiative. Under the agreement, the Coe community will cover 100 overnight shifts at the shelter during the next year. This volunteer presence will save Willis Dady over $11,000 in operation costs and help keep their doors open to those in need in the Cedar Rapids community.

The Coe commitment is straightforward. Every Monday and Tuesday, at least one Coe volunteer will be spending the night at Willis Dady. Overnight volunteering begins at 10 p.m. and ends at 6 a.m.

Once Coe students, faculty and staff have successfully completed their initial one-year volunteerism commitment, the Willis Dady Center has pledged $2,500 to Coe to support Alternative Spring Break service trips for students.

Coe President David McInally serves on the board of directors of the Willis Dady Center. He commended Willis Dady Executive Director Tim Wilson and the Coe College Office of Community Engagement for forging this agreement.

"Many Coe students have helped at the Willis Dady Emergency Shelter in the past, and we are pleased to expand the volunteer pool to include new students, faculty and staff," said McInally. "With this partnership, members of the Coe community can make a significant positive difference in our community at large."

According to Wilson, this particular initiative provides an excellent way to let the Coe community and Willis Dady’s staff, board and clients engage on a more informal level.

"Willis Dady has benefitted from engagement with Coe through volunteers, work-study students and interns," said Wilson. "We are currently in the midst of discussions about developing new areas of collaboration involving academics. Ideas being discussed include students helping clients with communications skills and longitudinal research on client success after they leave the shelter."

The Willis Dady Emergency Shelter has served thousands of homeless single men and families since opening in 1987. The organization provides about 8,000 nights of shelter per year, which is roughly 25 percent of nights of shelter provided in Linn County. Further, Willis Dady serves nearly 400 single men and families living  in or relocating to Cedar Rapids and/or Linn County each year. All services are provided free of charge.

Coe College offers superb academics and exciting co-curricular activities in a thriving urban setting that promotes student growth and success. Established in 1851, Coe has a national reputation for academic excellence enhanced by a student-centered, highly supportive campus environment. Coe's vibrant Cedar Rapids location provides an abundance of internships for students and career opportunities for graduates.