Anastasiya Shapovalova ’17 (Zaporizhzhya, Ukraine/ Mount Crawford, VA), the current FLEX Alumni City Representative of Zaporizhzhya, organized three impressive city cleanup activities for Global Youth Service Day (GYSD). She wanted to educate members of her community about the importance of community service and decided to involve them in a service activity so they could see the value of service learning for themselves.

Anastasiya advertised the project on social media to reach out to various high schools and universities in the region and inform students about the opportunity to volunteer. With a great turnout of volunteers, Anastasiya was able to organize three separate clean ups in different regions of the city.

After assessing the needs of the community, Anastasiya decided to lead the volunteers in picking up litter from neighborhoods in the city and in a nearby forest that lacks trashcans. The prevalence of litter in these neighborhoods resulted in Anastasiya realizing the need to increase awareness of recycling and waste removal in Ukraine.

While chatting to volunteers, Anastasiya was surprised to find out that most of them were looking for an opportunity to take part in some community service activity but didn’t know of any opportunities. Both volunteers and Anastasiya noticed that most people that observed them cleaning up the neighborhood had looks of surprise on their faces.

After the last clean-up took place, Anastasiya organized a small picnic with pizza for all the volunteers. During the picnic she gathered feedback from the participants, spoke about GYSD, and shared opportunities to volunteer in their city. She gave participants names of organizations that need volunteers and described the areas with which they needed help. She not only provided contact information for these organizations, but she also shared information about FLEX alumni community volunteering opportunities.  

“I loved cleaning up my city with the friendly company, and I would like to get more experience in volunteering,” said one of the volunteers, Maksym Sokolov. A FLEX alumna who also took part in the project said, “It was great to come and combine something useful with something pleasant. Now my favorite places are sparkly clean again!”

With such positive feedback, the FLEX alumni community in Eastern Ukraine is inspired to continue such projects in the future.

Written by Alona Tanchak ’12