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Arizona NROTC members makeover non-profit facility

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On Feb. 25, members of the University of Arizona NROTC program worked to improve World Care Civilian Emergency Relief Center. About 400 volunteers were involved in the makeover of the 40,000-square-foot facility.

However, the military members involved did not volunteer but were "voluntold," a common military phrase for mandatory participation in volunteer events. Col. Joseph Smith is the Professor of Naval Sciences and Commanding Officer, Naval ROTC Unit at the University of Arizona. He said the annual events are a means of practicing small unit leadership.

"The battalion gets a chance to organize themselves, it gets a chance to break up into small teams and to exert small team leadership," Smith said.

The battalion is comprised of active duty marines and sailors as well as midshipmen, aspiring to become naval officers. The active duty service members sometimes have upward of 10 years of leadership experience in the armed services. Midshipmen with no prior service are afforded leadership billets to gain experience.

"We let the university pick the agency they're going to support. That way we're never actually involved in trying to make a decision of who's more worthwhile ... and we work with the university as part of the university's effort to support this organization," Smith said.

Holly Altman is Director of Outreach & Community Partnerships at the university and organizes the annual Cats in the Community event. The Cats in the Community project invites the UA community to give back to the local community by partnering with a non-profit organization.

The UA Office of Community Relations began the Cats in the Community Day program in 2008. This year's project, "UA Extreme Non-Profit Makeover," consisted of painting, tree cutting, recycling, cleaning, digging and more at the former Tucson Unified School District building.

"World Care ... does such incredible work, it's almost hard to explain because their range is so broad," Altman said. The cosmetic and foundational makeover was not possible when the non-profit applied in the past because of an overwhelming amount of requests, Altman explained. "We knew that we had to help them because they deserve it and they do incredible work in the world...and so it was an easy pick," she said.

Inspired by a physical dream, Lisa Hopper, founder and CEO of World Care, began collecting school supplies in her garage in 1994. "I started off providing about 200 school packs for kids in Guatemala and then realized that we needed help right here in our own community," Hopper said.

World Care has expanded into a multi-program organization, benefiting many people locally. The organization also reaches out to 60 countries worldwide.

The non-profit center, based in Tucson, Ariz., focuses its efforts on the environment, health, education and emergency relief.

The emergency relief center uses donated surplus materials to support humanitarian relief efforts worldwide. Anything that is not re-usable is recycled. According to the organization's website, World Care recycles almost 443,000 pounds of material.

Hopper said she was excited to have the NROTC members helping the organization. "I'm a former military girl myself and it's wonderful to see all these young, energetic individuals that are gonna be serving our country and are serving our country in many different fashions," she said. "I think that the military gives you an opportunity to understand the needs that are out there."

On March 3rd, Altman acknowledged the battalion for dedicating more than 400 man-hours to the event. She will present the final results of the project to the NROTC battalion at the UA Social Sciences auditorium on March 21.


Written by Audrey A. Fitzsimmons You are reading Arizona NROTC members makeover non-profit facility articles

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