Help Center: Yale Day of Service

About Yale Day of Service

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Yale Day of Service is a global event where Yale alumni, family, and friends work together to make their communities a better place. We have targeted Saturday, May 11, 2024, as this year’s focal point around which to plan local Yale Day of Service events. Some Yale clubs have planned Day of Service events as early as March and others as late as July, so you might think of the Day of Service as being more like a “Season of Service.” Other groups have added recurring service events throughout the year. Regardless, Yale Day of Service is an annual call to service for all alumni and their families and friends.

Yale alumni have an unparalleled tradition of service. Nathan Hale, Class of 1773, proclaimed “I wish to be useful, and every kind of service necessary to the public good becomes honorable by being necessary.” An excerpt of that quote is sculpted in the wall of Branford Court. Yale alumni have risen to the challenge to “change the world” from Dwight Hall’s student-led community-based programs to the highest levels of government service. Indeed, many alumni are changing the world as volunteers for Yale, in their professional lives in the nonprofit sector, by serving on boards of foundations, as elected officials, or by giving of their intellect and creative energy to volunteer community projects.

Yale Day of Service celebrates the many ways alumni give back and provides an opportunity for members of the Yale community to come together to support service organizations in their local and virtual networks.

COVID-19 and Yale Day of Service

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The COVID-19 pandemic sparked new ways of thinking about Yale Day of Service. In addition to locally organized service events, Yale Day of Service now includes national “turnkey” service events such as the American Red Cross Sound the Alarm projects, events with a global template like The Architect Is In, or purely virtual events such as Love for our Elders letter writing. The YAA events calendar lists Yale Day of Service programs once the project coordinators submit them.

Why Yale Day of Service

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There is something magical that happens when a group of Yale alumni come together to work on a project. Even mundane tasks take on new meaning when working with Yalies to transform the world.

We recognize that many alumni are actively involved in service in their communities and networks. Participating in similar projects with fellow Yale alumni, family, and friends provides a heightened sense of community and meaning. It’s the amplification of the shared Yale connection and legacy of service that provides a certain nuanced spark of energy and engagement when volunteering with members of the Yale alumni community.

Getting Started & Reaching Out

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Please contact the project coordinator listed on the event description page. For overall questions, contact YAA Assistant Director of Volunteer Engagement Mara Balk or Yale Day of Service co-chairs Jerry Henry and Cynthia Okechukwu.

If you do not see a Yale Day of Service project near you, please contact your local Yale club president or the Yale Day of Service regional director to get more information.

Consider joining a virtual project with Yalies from all over the world. These projects are listed as “virtual” on the YAA events calendar. Also, keep checking back to this website; new projects are being posted as they arrive! Or you can organize a project of your own! Contact a Yale Day of Service regional director for ideas and support for organizing a Yale Day of Service project.

Alumni who have started service projects report that it is one of their most satisfying endeavors. If you would like to suggest a service organization for Yale Day of Service or organize a project, there are several people you can contact:

  • If there are similar projects listed on the Yale Day of Service website, contact the listed coordinator to see about collaboration or multiple dates. 
  • If you do not see any opportunities for collaboration, contact your local Yale club president.
  • You can also contact the regional director for your area.
  • Or YAA staff

Participating in Yale Day of Service

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Everyone is welcome to be a part of Yale Day of Service! Many projects specifically note if they are family friendly, and the registration form provides a space to indicate the names and ages of children you are registering. Day of Service is a wonderful activity for families to share together. And we are happy to have members of the extended Yale community join us, so bring your friends and register them as guests, too. We even have a special name for them:  FOYs (Family/Friends of Yalies)!

Please contact Mara Balk at the YAA by email to add guests beyond those included in the registration form.

Please contact Mara Balk at the YAA to cancel your registration or make any changes. If you are canceling on the day of the project, please also contact your site coordinator with a cc to Mara Balk.

We hope you will consider registering for another Day of Service project. But if you feel a strong connection to a particular project that is marked full, please contact the event coordinator listed in the project description. Events may have wait lists in case of cancellations, or in some cases, there may be the opportunity to expand the scope of the project if there is enough interest.

Your project coordinator should provide you with information related to weather challenges for Day of Service activities as well as a number to call on the project date should you have questions about the weather or other items on that day.

Contact Us

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The contact page lists a number of people you can reach out to with questions about Yale Day of Service. You can also find group leaders for your Yale College classes, regional clubs, shared interest groups, and graduate and professional associations on the YAA’s group search page.