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Local

Volunteers participate in NIU Cares Day across DeKalb County

SYCAMORE – From 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, the sisters of Sigma Lambda Sigma service sorority planted flowers, weeded gardens and befriended earthworms.

The sorority sisters were not only celebrating Earth Day. They were helping senior citizens at Somerset Farm, a condominium community for seniors age 55 and older in Sycamore.

The sorority was one of the NIU volunteer organizations that participated in NIU Cares Day.

Somerset Farm resident Suzanne Lehto said that without the volunteers’ help, many of the flower beds would not be maintained. She said she was thankful that volunteers weeded and prepared the two memorial garden flower beds that residents have planted in memory of those they have loved and lost.

“Many of the residents are unable to tend to their gardens by themselves, and it’s really helpful to have the students’ help,” Lehto said. “The volunteers are terrific. They’re cheerful, smart and strong-willed. We enjoy having them around and are grateful for all of their hard work.”

During NIU Cares Day, student, faculty, staff and alumni volunteers spend the day planting, painting, cleaning, sorting and assisting with events and various other tasks around the county.

Volunteers helped at more than 50 sites around DeKalb County, including churches, private residences, TAILS Humane Society, Family Services Agency, Voluntary Action Center, The Salvation Army, Glidden Homestead and Historical Center and the DeKalb County Forest Preserve.

Mary Piotrowski, vice president of Sigma Lambda Sigma, said helping DeKalb County organizations and residents allows her sorority to give back to the community. Last year, the sorority helped the Ellwood House, completing more than four months’ worth of yardwork in one day.

“Our sorority was founded on service, and our three pillars are service, leadership and sisterhood,” Piotrowski said. “Participating in NIU Cares Day is a tradition. We do it every year. It’s nice to volunteer together and show the community what we stand for. We see support from the community all around our campus, and it is rewarding to give back and help, even if it is just for one morning, one day.”

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