Keuka College Marks the Return of Celebrate Service… Celebrate Yates

The annual day of community service saw scores of volunteers rolling up their sleeves after a two-year hiatus.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

After a two-year hiatus, one of Keuka College’s favorite events, Celebrate Service ... Celebrate Yates, made its return on Sunday, May 1. 

“This is a time for us to connect with our partners in the community and do some good for those around us,” said Dr. Heather Maldonado, vice president for student development at the College.

The longtime Keuka College-Yates County Chamber of Commerce collaboration, saw scores of Keuka College students, faculty, staff, and community residents fan out across Yates County Sunday. The volunteers took part in county-wide service projects at 20 sites during a warm, sunny afternoon marked by community service, teamwork, and partnership. Projects included painting, raking, clearing hiking trails, and moving furniture.

Prior to leaving for the worksites, an opening ceremony was held outside of the Dahlstrom Student Center on the College’s campus. Student volunteers were raring to go.

“This is a way for us to help the local community and have a good experience team-building with each other,” said Keynnis Diaz ’25, who donated her time along with fellow members of the College’s Association for Future Social Workers including Madalyn Merkt ’24, Kenzie VanSickle ’24, Tatiana Dutchin ’26, and McKenzie Low ’24

Also assisting with the day’s efforts were members of the College’s Craft Club.

“I wanted to help because I wanted to meet some members of the Penn Yan community, and this is a way for the College and community to connect,” said Craft Club founder Marlayna Jones ’22, who was joined by club member Sydney Gilbert ’22.

Keuka College’s Director of Community Relations and Events Kathy Waye, one of the College’s CSCY organizers, said she was happy the event has returned.

“Having the College and the community work together again means so much,” she said.

Jessica Bacher, president and CEO of the Yates County Chamber of Commerce, agreed.

“It was wonderful to see an equal number of College and community participants, as well as to see many families volunteering together,” she said. “CSCY is wonderful for our non-profit agencies who rely on volunteer help, not just today, but throughout the year.” 

Envisioned more than 20 years ago by Keuka College student Tracy Swem Morgan ’98 as a way to demonstrate a literal joining of hands across Yates County, CSCY fosters stronger relationships between members of the Keuka College community and its neighbors. This year’s event also included a winter clothing collection drive. New or gently used coats, hats, mittens, were collected and will be distributed to local families.