CSU volunteers assist elderly Fort Collins residents

Off-Campus Life at CSU and the City of Fort Collins Neighborhood Services Office are teaming up for the 10th annual Fall Clean Up event. The event kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 1, and runsfall clean up 2 until 2 p.m.

More than 1,200 volunteers are expected to help more than 170 residents throughout the Fort Collins community. CSU students and staff will help get homes of elderly and/or physically limited residents ready for the fall/winter season. Volunteers will help with outdoor yard work like raking leaves, trimming bushes, and other essential tasks that residents cannot complete themselves nor afford to pay for services.

“Each year, our office has the privilege of reading many thank-you notes from elderly residents telling us that the yard maintenance done during the Fall Clean Up event makes it possible for them to stay in their homes,” said Emily Allen, community liaison for the City of Fort Collins and Off-Campus Life at Colorado State University. “Additionally, they often share that their favorite part of the event is the chance to chat and laugh with students they otherwise would not have met.”

Building community

What makes this program so special is that it goes beyond helping residents in need prepare their homes for the fall and winter seasons. It helps connect students with long-term residents across the city.

Last year, 100 percent of the students surveyed felt that assisting with Fall Clean Up helped them feel more a part of the Fort Collins community. Ninety percent felt that as a result of participating, they would be less likely to choose behaviors and actions that could negatively impact neighborhoods in the community; the other 10 percent shared that they are choosing behaviors and actions that have a positive impact in the neighborhoods. Ninety-seven percent felt that volunteering further motivated them to help maintain the neighborhood quality of life in Fort Collins.

Of the neighbors who received assistance, more than 98 percent surveyed agreed that Fall Clean Up helped them feel more connected to CSU students and that the program gave them a greater appreciation of students as neighbors. Ninety-five percent agreed that, without the program, they would be unable to prepare their home for the fall and winter seasons.

One resident shared: “Very polite and did a great job. America needs more cleanup groups. They’re beautiful and bring joy to Fort Collins. Being on oxygen, heart and sight problems, I still strive to be independent. They’re a blessing to mankind. I had tears of happiness and gratitude for your program. Thank you so much!”