Four children were playing around a beaten-up old dollhouse, in a yard overgrown with weeds and trees with dead branches near a fence falling apart.

That is the picture UVU staff and several students encountered on Sept. 8, when they arrived at the location where they were to serve as part of the United Way’s annual Day of Caring project.

Working and attending school leaves little time for yard work, says Viera, single mom to the four children playing in the overgrown yard who also attends this university. In pursuing a college degree, she is preparing herself professionally to provide a better life for her children.

Every year, all over the country the United Way organizes the Day of Caring and assigns different projects to different organizations to help in the community.

Helping and serving the community has always been part of this university, so the project was no surprise to anyone.

There were 30 volunteers at the designated location and they were there for three hours until they finished cleaning, pulling weeds, getting rid of dead branches and disposed junk in the backyard.

Even though the United Way assigned the project, the university also sponsored this specific project by buying all the paint and the rest of the supplies needed to finish it.

Everyone that participated had a story to tell on why they were there, including Marc Jerome, a member of the Administrative Programs and Services Department, who had just said goodbye to crutches back in June after using them for 18 years.

“I also just had open heart surgery back in April, but I knew I had to come here because I might not be able to do it next year,” Jerome said. “I had so many people do things for me, it is nice to do something for someone else.”

Most people can appreciate the value of a day of service.

“This is such a wonderful project we are doing,” said Alexis Palmer, director of the Volunteer and Service-Learning Center. “I have been doing this for a while now, so it is not stressful at all. I know people are going to show up and it will get done.”

Everyone involved was happy with the finished product.

“It is amazing what you can accomplish in just three hours,” said Matt Chambers, coordinator of the Volunteer and Service-Learning Center.

“I was so pleased with the results,” Palmer said. “It was a great success.”