March 15, 2007 -- Cavaliers Care Worldwide embodies U.Va’s spirit of public service.
An international volunteerism initiative based on citizenship, this program, founded by the Young Alumni Council and now in its seventh year, brings alumni, family and friends together to work on service projects in their communities, while generating camaraderie with other alums volunteering around the country and the world.
Cavaliers Care clubs select their own projects based on their communities’ needs, said Cindy S. Fredrick, director of the Office of Engagement who oversees the program. ”For a service to be effective, it has to hit home.”
Most of the projects take place in April, to celebrate University founder Thomas Jefferson’s birthday and to mark National Volunteer Week.
Last year, U.Va. students, alums, family and friends worked on 38 projects in 21 states, ranging from building a house for Habitat for Humanity to stocking a food bank to holding a social event in a retirement home.
So far this year there are 37 projects in 13 states, with sign-ups remaining open until the middle of this month and a goal of around 50 projects. There are also two potential overseas projects. There are 80 domestic and 25 international clubs.
“These projects continue the core value of U.Va., which is public service,” said Fredrick, who will lead a six-member group to Peru to help renovate a school with a local group.
“This is our [club’s] first international Cavs Care trip,” she said.
In the future, Fredrick wants to coordinate such trips with Alternative Spring Break, a student-run organization that sends student volunteers on domestic and international service projects. This spring, Alternative Spring break has 13 domestic projects and 15 overseas projects.
And while alumni and friends are working around the country, University students volunteering through Madison House will be working on one-day local projects in Charlottesville to give them a sense of working with the alumni and their families. This helps students to be involved so they will be more interested in volunteering when they are alumni, Frederick said.
While there is no intentional coordination of the scope or subject of the projects across the Cavs Care network, Fredrick said, as “people in each community focus on projects close to home, the energy of students, alumni, family and friends making a difference across the world elevates this program to a higher level.”
“I’m really looking forward to the  launch of Cavaliers Care Worldwide this April,” Fredrick said. “The generosity and enthusiasm of our U.Va. Club volunteers never cease to amaze me — it’s a pleasure and a privilege to work with such committed alumni, family and friends.”
The sign-up for 2007 Cavaliers Care Worldwide began March 1. Further details and online participation forms on the UVaClubs will be available at www.uvaclubs.virginia.edu/volunteer or by calling 924-0929.