The 2021 Yale Day of Service (YDOS), now in its 13th year, will continue the yearlong commitment to service made in 2020. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, YDOS 2020 marked the first all-virtual initiative in the program’s history.

Employing creativity, use of technology, and global outreach, Yale alumni volunteers made a difference in communities worldwide, by writing letters, tutoring students, talking to isolated elders, delivering groceries, making and shipping personal protective equipment, and continuing to serve populations in medical, educational, and crisis environments.

Yale Day of Service co-chairs Paul Broholm (left) and Besty Sullivan (far left in right image).
Yale Day of Service co-chairs Paul Broholm (left) and Besty Sullivan (far left in right image).

Moving into the second spring of social distancing, mask wearing, and diligent hand washing, 2021’s YDOS program is excited to see how service-minded Yalies respond. The YAA encourages alumni groups to adhere to the guidelines of their local health authorities. Once that threshold has been met, innovation, creativity, and passion for change can positively impact the communities where Yalies live and work.

Alums organizing service projects can post virtual and in-person events through the Yale Alumni Association’s event submission form online. Instructions for doing so are available on the Yale Day of Service website’s “Ways to Participate.” Volunteers looking to participate can view the Yale Day of Service projects on the YAA Events Calendar and register themselves and friends and family members where appropriate. In addition, the YAA is collecting first-person testimonials of YDOS participants’ experiences.

YDOS Co-Chairs Paul Broholm ’78 and Betsy Sullivan ’74, ’76 MA noted the inspiring stories that alums have shared over the last year of service programming.

“We have heard from such a diverse array of Yalies – from classes, clubs, groups, and professions spanning health, education, the arts, and more – all doing amazing and meaningful work,” Broholm said.

“It really shows the impact of resilience and determination,” added Sullivan. “The commitment to service of the whole Yale community during this pandemic, from current students and faculty to alums of Yale College and the graduate and professional schools, has been striking and powerful.”

Recognizing that coming together from all points on the globe for a single day of community engagement remains a unique and special experience, YDOS organizers and participants will be invited to celebrate the work of their classmates, colleagues, and alumni network via Zoom this coming fall (specific date to be determined). While the details are still being finalized, the YAA will highlight the service activities of Yalies during the COVID-19 pandemic and, hopefully, post-pandemic as well.