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    Lab employees reach out to the community

    Being an integral part of the community is always important at Jefferson Lab. For the past four years, Jefferson Lab employees have been reaching out to the community on the annual United Way Day of Caring. Over the years, Lab employees have painted houses, handed out free food, installed fire alarms, and cleaned up city parks. At this year's event on September 5, eight Jefferson Lab volunteers went as a group to Maryview Nursing Care Center in Suffolk.

    The group joined hundreds of volunteers from Hampton Roads who went into the community to lend a hand to those in need of assistance. In the past, Jefferson Lab employees have been placed based on their individual interests. This was the first year that Lab employees worked together at the same site. They took a group of senior citizens for a picnic at the Portsmouth City Park where they grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, and played games. Shilda Williams, Jefferson Lab's United Way Campaign Coordinator, says the event was a success and was fulfilling for those who participated. "It was rewarding to see the looks of appreciation on the faces of the nursing home patients," says Williams. "They really enjoyed the attention and the chance to get away from the home for a while."

    "I think it is important for employees to show their interest in the community," says Williams. "It really makes you count your blessings when you see the conditions that some people live in."

    As a newcomer to the Peninsula, volunteer Mark Ito of the Physics Division, jumped at the opportunity to get involved in the community. "It is refreshing to stick your head up and out of your own world and your own problems for a day and focus on the concerns of others," says Ito. "You learn a lot about people and you learn a lot about yourself."

    In conjunction with the Day of Caring, Jefferson Lab employees also supported the United Way's Fundraising Campaign which started October 14 and ended October 28. Contributions were made through payroll deduction, direct billing, or a one-time payment of cash or check. Employees designated contributions to specific United Way agencies or to targeted areas of need in the community. "Once again, employees have recognized our community's needs, joined together, and responded to those needs," says Williams. "Through the Lab's generosity and commitment, contributions totaled $32,551. I would like to thank all of our employees for their contributions to this year's United Way campaign."

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