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Volunteers Spend the Day at Parkdale H.S., Build Deck at Habitat for Humanity Home

As UMUC volunteers gave the weight room at Parkdale High School a fresh new coat of green and gold paint, Panthers head football coach Chuck Pope could see the physical transformation, but he was more excited about a psychological transformation for his players.

"This will really boast morale," he said. Parkdale is coming off a 3–7 record last season, but he could see the smiles on his players' faces—some of whom helped paint the walls in their school colors—and a growing sense of pride they had in the spiffed-up weight room, along with their increased confidence in finishing with a better record this year.

"It was great to see so many people come out to help," Heidi Michael, a senior financial aid accountant at UMUC, told reporter Rochelle Metzger from Prince George's Community Television.

UMUC received support from the local community to be able to do the work. Joe Sirico, the store manager of Lowe's home improvement store in New Carrollton, worked with UMUC to pick the colors and donated all the paint for the project.

Just around the corner, in another room at Parkdale, other UMUC volunteers were working with representatives from the Maryland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MDSPCA) to help create toys for animals that are brought to its shelter.

Volunteers made playthings such as scratchers for cats and rope toys for dogs from scratch, braiding and cutting and coloring toys that will provide needed comfort for the animals.

"I am so happy that UMUC was able to participate in the USM Day of Service," said Michelle Riley, a director in the UMUC Service Center. "Making toys and beds for shelter animals was so fun, and it felt great to be able to help such an amazing organization like the Maryland SPCA."

Katie Flory, from MDSPCA, said, "We have animals come to us that are scared, and everything you did today will help them not be so frightened."

Other UMUC volunteers worked at a Habitat for Humanity project in Gaithersburg, Maryland, clearing the basement of debris, doing yard work, and helping build a deck off the back of a home that will be sold to a low-income family. Still others were performing various support tasks at ReStore, the organization's donation center.

The volunteer activities were part of Maryland Unites: A Day of Service, a statewide initiative created by Governor Larry Hogan. When he announced the initiative in July following the unrest in Baltimore, Governor Hogan said, "In the past few weeks, I have witnessed incredible acts of kindness and volunteerism from members of a community who truly care for one another. Maryland Unites: A Day of Service is about continuing that spirit of giving back and sharing it with Baltimore City and our local communities."

UMUC employees receive four hours of paid leave to participate in Maryland Unites: A Day of Service activities.

Check out pictures from Parkdale High School and the Habitat for Humanity project on Facebook.

Click here to view the news story about UMUC's volunteer efforts at Parkdale High School on Prince George's CTV News.