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ACS News

June 26, 2006
Volume 84, Number 26
p. 47


Chemists in the Community: Outreach in San Francisco

Bonnie A. Charpentier, District VI Director

One of the outstanding strengths of the American Chemical Society is the dedication of its members to volunteerism and service. The purpose of this comment is to inform you of an exciting new outreach effort to be initiated on Sept. 9 at the beginning of the national meeting in San Francisco. In this Presidential Event, sponsored by E. Ann Nalley, ACS meeting attendees will be able to participate in a variety of service projects. I am particularly pleased to note that the board of directors has rearranged its meeting schedule to participate. This is a great opportunity to team up with other ACS members in worthwhile work and to be "Chemists in the Community!"


We are partnering with a community service organization, Hands On Bay Area, to identify and organize community projects. This partnership allows us to work with a group of people who are in touch with community needs and have extensive experience in running service projects. They, in turn, are excited about the prospect of working with ACS members who can provide educational outreach as well. To support the project, members of the Santa Clara Valley Section and the California Section are attending training with Hands On Bay Area to be project leaders. We expect to make this an ongoing collaboration for additional programs.

The staff at Hands On is also enthusiastic about the precedent of attendees at a large meeting getting out into the community to do service; they don't believe this has happened before but think it's a great idea. This partnership is a win-win collaboration building on the strengths of each organization.

Project sites include the San Francisco Zoo, a neighborhood community center, and schools or parks. The physical effort involved will vary, so there will be a variety of activities to accommodate volunteer capabilities and interests. Physically demanding work will be in the form of construction, cleanup, gardening, and painting, for example, depending on the needs at the particular site. At sites where there will be contact with the public, we also want to staff tables for chemistry experiments and distribution of National Chemistry Week and other educational materials. On Saturday, buses will provide transportation for volunteers to and from the work sites and a central meeting location. Water and box lunches will be provided.

Volunteers may sign up for morning and/or afternoon projects by logging on to chemistry.org/SF_outreachvolunteer.html. There is room for about 300 volunteers, so please sign up early to reserve your space. To be able to confirm project sites, we would like to have a complete list of volunteers by Aug. 9. Further instructions and information, including what to bring and where to meet, will be provided to those who sign up. If you need more information, you may e-mail the local organizers, Lee Latimer, Natalie McClure, or me, at communitychemists@yahoo.com.

Past-president Bill Carroll has written about the power of working with civic organizations to do service-to give them a chance to meet chemists and to talk about the benefits of chemistry to society (C&EN, Oct. 4, 2004, page 49). Saturday, Sept. 9, will provide us an opportunity to do this. It is an opportunity for ACS members to use the transforming power of chemists to leave a meeting city better than we found it!

Views expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of ACS.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
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